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

March for Science Report

Just a quick note to pass along my report for Skeptical Inquirer on the Washington DC March for Science a week ago today. I compared the march to the atmosphere of a road race. Despite ceaseless rain, a good time was had by all, and I think it was a valuable and very positive event. The report includes some fun pictures of people and signs.


Spring seems to have finally arrived in New England. I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

SV

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