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 Association for Psychological Science and 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.

CV.current.2019

Google Scholar Citations

 Researchgate profile


Recent Posts

A Monument to Homeopathy and My Trip to Brazil

On a recent trip to Washington, DC I visited a monument that most visitors to our nation’s capital never see. The German physician Samuel Hahnemann invented homeopathy, and in 1900, the American Institute of Homeopathy built a monument to him at a busy intersection in DC. In my latest column in Skeptical Inquirer, “What Should Become of a MSamuel_Hahnemann_Memorial.jpgonument to Pseudoscience,” I report on my pilgrimage to the Hahnemann monument and the history of homeopathy.


Speaking of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, my recent article on the rise of exorcism has been translated into Spanish. “La Nueva Ola De Exorcismos” can be found here.


In a couple of weeks, I will be traveling to Sao Paulo, Brazil to give a few talks sponsored by a skeptics organization there, Questão de Ciência. The schedule of events is out. 66853837_2362935800440387_7127538110778310656_n.png

I am very excited to be going to Brazil to support this new skeptics group in Sao Paulo. It should be fun.


That’s it for now. It is very hot here in New England. I hope you are staying cool wherever you are.

SV

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  3. Audio Course and Book Talk Leave a reply
  4. The history of crutches Leave a reply
  5. Michigan, My Audio Course, and Political Bias Leave a reply
  6. Happy New Year! Leave a reply
  7. My new Time magazine article Leave a reply
  8. The book is here!! & Crystals Leave a reply
  9. Autism Wars, Netflix/Vox “Explainer,” and Tarot Cards Leave a reply