William James and the Psychics

Image-4 (1)Happy New Year! It has been over a month since I last visited your inbox. For those of you who are not in New England this picture shows the world outside my window this morning.


My latest Behavior and Belief Untitledcolumn for Skeptical Inquirer is entitled “William James and the Psychics.” It’s based on a new book that provides evidence that the famous 19th century psychologist and philosopher’s interest in spiritualism was much more central to his life and career than otherwise thought. Séances and mediums were very popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and despite the criticism of his colleagues, James attended dozens of séances and maintained that psychical research was a productive way to investigate the possibility of life after death.


This one is for psych majors. The January, 2018 Behavior Therapist, a journal of the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, is a special issue on the topic of Pseudoscience in Mental Health Treatment. I wrote an article entitled “What’s a Therapist to Do When Clients Have Pseudoscientific Beliefs?” A pdf copy of the article can be found here. If you are interested in the entire special issue, a pdf is located here.


Finally, the January/February issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine is on news stands now. I have two articles this time, but unfortunately they are both print only. If you want to 159158read them, you will have to pick up a copy of the magazine or email me directly. The issue includes a special section called “A Skeptic’s Guide to Racism,” inspired by the sad and disturbing events of Charlottesville.  I wrote a short piece for this section called, “Combating Racism through Shared Goals.” My regular column is entitled “Yes, We Do Need Experts.” It reviews a great book called “The Death of Expertise” by Tom Nichols.


That’s it for now.

Happy winter, SV