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


Recent Posts

P-hacker Confessions: Daryl Bem & Me

My latest article for Skeptical Inquirer, “P-hacking Confessions: Daryl Bem & Me,” is up

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A “receiver” in a Ganzfeld ESP experiment

on the website. In it, I admit that earlier in my career I engaged in shaky data manipulation techniques that are now called p-hacking. The article also describes the fascinating career of psychologist Daryl Bem, who, among other things, is one of the few mainstream psychologists who has done research on—and believes in—extrasensory perception (ESP).

 


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On June 2, I was quoted in an essay entitled, “Why I Wrote This Article on Malcolm Gladwell’s Keyboard,” in the business section of the New York Times. The author, Daniel McGinn, has written a new book called, Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You 
Succeed
. I am not sure I can endorse the claims made in the article or the book, but the author seems to have found something useful in my book Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.


Summer temperatures have finally arrived here in New England. I hope everyone is enjoying some time outdoors while the weather is so nice.

SV

  1. March for Science Report Leave a reply
  2. Those Pesky Unintended Consequences Leave a reply
  3. TED Ed “Where Do Superstitions Come From?” Leave a reply
  4. Your Unlearning Report Leave a reply
  5. Happy Friday the 13th! Leave a reply
  6. Power Posing and More Leave a reply
  7. Early December News Leave a reply
  8. CSICon Las Vegas Report Leave a reply
  9. More October News Leave a reply