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

Google Scholar Citations

Researchgate profile


Recent Posts

Friday the 13th, 2021

There is just one Friday the 13th in 2021, and as the day approached, I was recruited for a few interviews. Here is a quick wrap-up.


I had a great time on the American Psychological Association podcast “Speaking of Psychology,” hosted by Kim Mills. The interview was on the psychology of superstition, and you can listen to the interview by clicking the green triangle below, A complete transcript of the interview is available here.


On the day itself, I had two minutes of Canadian fame as I appeared on Breakfast Television, “Canada’s #1 national morning show.” As luck would have it, the segment was very brief, but you can see it below.

And because you are all my close friends, I will reveal to you what my home television studio looks like. Here’s a behind the scenes photo:


I was also interviewed on “Doctor Radio” on Sirius XM radio early on Friday the 13th, which was a wonderful time. We talked quite a bit about COVID and anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately, Sirius is behind a paywall, and there is no publically available recording or transcript.


That’s the entire Friday the 13th roundup. Fridays will remain superstition-free until May 2022.

Until then, next time enjoy the tag end of summer.

SV

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