The COVID crisis throws into relief what happens when grief has—quite literally—nowhere to go. The evidence suggests that most people summon strengths that surpass their own expectations.
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Using the past to make sense of perception today.
Carolyn Purnell Ph.D.
We think of memory, imagination, and judgment as “mental faculties,” but in the past, they were classified as “senses.” Why? And should we consider doing the same?
For centuries, a spate of educated men believed that their bodies were made of glass. Why was this delusion so prevalent, and why did it disappear?
Everyone has one stove burner they use more than others. Aside from ergonomics and convenience, why? What's the psychology behind that preference?
How cutting-edge medical knowledge revolutionized the way modern cities function.
The morgue was among the hottest 19th-century tourist attractions in Paris. Why? And how does seeing death on a daily basis alter one’s understanding of life?
At first glance, the cat piano seems cruel and ludicrous, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a rich world of meaning.
In an era where it’s easy to manipulate video and photographic evidence, how can we really tell that the things we’re seeing are true?
Ever wondered why there aren’t more fuchsia cars? The prejudice against bright colors runs deep and can be traced back to the age of Western colonialism.
Many 18th- and 19th-century philosophers described sex as a sixth sense. It’s worth asking why.
A brief history of race as a visual construct.
In Europe in the 1700s, people allegedly died from smelling flowers. Why? The answer might surprise you.
During COVID-19, face masks are the new norm. That’s positive for physical health, but what does it mean for us socially?
Nothing seems more constant than our senses. Yet over time, humans have put their senses to use in dramatically different ways.
Carolyn Purnell, Ph.D., is a historian and writer fascinated by the hidden assumptions that govern our lives. By contextualizing perception, she seeks to make the past relevant to modern readers.