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

Banner Photo by Matt Kieffer


Recent Posts

Your Unlearning Report

Just a quick note to say my new column for Skeptical Inquirer, “Your Unlearning Report: The Trouble with Empathy, Implicit Bias, and Believing in Luck” is now up on the web. In it I explain why empathy is bad (or rather Yale psychologist Paul Bloom does), and why the now extensive field of research on implicit bias may not be as meaningful as it once was thought to be. Finally, I confess to being wrong about the effect of believing luck on your golf game.

hand-holding-golf-ball

That’s all for now.

SV

 

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