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Stories by Stephen L. Macknik

Calderon's 2 Dreams

These 17th-century plays resonate the fundamental, timeless, question of human existence: How can we know that life is not a dream?

February 22, 2017 — Stephen L. Macknik

When Free Choice Is an Illusion

Magicians and cognitive scientists know how to manipulate what we pick—or thought we picked

December 23, 2016 — Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik

The Stars in Your Eyes

Galileo saw celestial spheres spinning in space, but was dismayed by effects we now know arose in his brain: The same Jovian moon could appear small or big depending on whether it was dark or bright against its background. DaVinci and Helmholtz also suffered from similar delusions of grandeur, when viewing white objects versus black. We show some of brain’s illusions of brightness here, as companions to our new Illusions article in this month’s print edition of Scientific American MIND.

October 16, 2016 — Stephen L. Macknik

Scientists Should Speak Out More

Engaging the public has long been taboo in scientific circles, but social media outlets are starting to force a change 

October 1, 2016 — Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen L. Macknik and Devin Powell

The Illusions of Love

How do we fool thee? Let us count the ways that illusions play with our hearts and minds

August 1, 2016 — Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde
Is That Picture Looking at Me?

Is That Picture Looking at Me?

Eye gaze is critically important to social primates such as humans. Maybe that is why illusions involving eyes are so compelling

August 23, 2016 — Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik