About

I am a behavioral scientist, teacher, and writer. I write the monthly “Behavior & Belief” column for Skeptical Inquirer and personal essays in a variety of places—lately for the ObserverMedium, The AtlanticThe Good Men Project, and Tablet. I also blog very sporadically for Psychology Today.

My book Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition won the William James Book Award of the American Psychological Association and has been or will be translated into four languages. My book Going Broke: Why Americans Can’t Hold On To Their Money is an analysis of the current epidemic of personal debt and has been translated into Chinese.

As an expert on superstition and irrational behavior, I have been quoted in many news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and have appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN International, the PBS NewsHour, and NPR”s Science Friday. See the In the Media page for recent quotes and appearances.

I hold a PhD in psychology and BA and MA degrees in English literature and am a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The majority of my teaching career was spent at Connecticut College in New London, CT, where I was the Joanne Toor ’50 Professor of Psychology. My academic interests are in decision making, behavioral economics, philosophy, behavior analysis, and belief in the paranormal.

Academic CV

Google Scholar Citations

 Researchgate profile


Recent Posts

Those Pesky Unintended Consequences

crash-215512_1920.jpgMy latest column for Skeptical Inquirer, “Can Anything Save Us from Unintended Consequences?,” is online now. In it I reveal a little-known fact about the Great Recession of 2008 and provide a number of examples of good ideas gone bad.

 

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In other news, Skeptical Inquirer magazine is on newsstands now, and it includes my article, “Your Unlearning Report: Empathy is Bad, You’re Not as Racist as You Thought, and Believing in Luck Won’t Help Your Golf Game.” This piece is also available online here.


This weekend I am off to the March for Science in Washington DC on  Saturday, April 22, which is also Earth Day. I will march in support of reason, evidence, and scientific discovery. I am hoping for good weather and huge (YUGE!) crowds of happy science marchforscience-1024x512.jpgwarriors. There will be marches all over the world, so please check the March for Science website for a satellite march near you.


Finally, I have redesigned my website with a  new color scheme and font combination. It also includes flashy rotating images on the home screen. I am just doing my part to keep shameless self-promotion fresh and up-to-date.

That’s all for now. Happy Spring!

SV

  1. TED Ed “Where Do Superstitions Come From?” Leave a reply
  2. Your Unlearning Report Leave a reply
  3. Happy Friday the 13th! Leave a reply
  4. Power Posing and More Leave a reply
  5. Early December News Leave a reply
  6. CSICon Las Vegas Report Leave a reply
  7. More October News Leave a reply
  8. Autumn Superstitions Leave a reply
  9. End of Summer Wrap-Up Leave a reply