About

I am a behavioral scientist, teacher, and writer. I am a contributing editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, for which I write the “Behavior & Belief” column, both online and in print. I have written personal and professional essays in a variety of places, including the ObserverMedium, The AtlanticThe Good Men ProjectTablet, and Time.

The first edition of my book Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition won the William James Book Award of the American Psychological Association and was translated into Japanese, German, and Romanian. An updated edition was published in 2014. My book Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can’t Hold On To Their Money is an analysis of the current epidemic of personal debt. The first edition was translated into Chinese, and the second edition was released in September of 2018 in both paperback and audiobook formats.

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 Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and Connecticut College. 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

My new Time magazine article

High Angle View Of Students Wearing Graduation Gown At UniversityJust a brief note to share some exciting news. I was recently asked to write an article for Time magazine as a tie-in to the new edition of my book, Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can’t Hold on to Their MoneyThe article is entitled “How to Have Your Kid Go to College — But Not Go Broke,” and it includes a number of suggestions for getting a good education with little or no student loan debt. Screenshot 2018-10-04 13.51.32.png

The article went online on September 28th, and it also appears in the October 8th issue of the print magazine. The magazine has already been mailed to subscribers and should be on newsstands next week.


That’s all for now!

SV

  1. The book is here!! & Crystals Leave a reply
  2. Autism Wars, Netflix/Vox “Explainer,” and Tarot Cards Leave a reply
  3. Astrology, Horror Movies, & the Media Leave a reply
  4. Friday the 13th & Obesity Leave a reply
  5. Going Broke 2 & Changelings Leave a reply
  6. RBG, Experts, & Another Mass Shooting Leave a reply
  7. William James and the Psychics Leave a reply
  8. Superstitious Rituals & French Statistics Leave a reply
  9. Dan Q. Posin & more Leave a reply