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. 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

Friday the 13th & Obesity

Happy Friday the 13th! Today I was lucky enough to be quoted in an article in the Toronto Star, and I participated in a discussion of superstition on BBC 5. If the audio of the interview becomes available, I will link to it here. In the meantime, here is a link to the Toronto Star article, “Superstitions Are a Control Issue.


My latest Behavior & Belief column for Skeptical Inquirer, “How Not to Combat Obesity,” downloadis up on the website. In this column, I investigate a USDA web page that once had some very useful information about the nutritional value of food purchased or consumed away from home. I think you will find the story interesting. A week after the column went up, new information came to light, so I appended a brief final chapter to the story.


That’s it for Friday the 13th. Have a wonderful weekend!

SV

 

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