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. In 2020, my book Superstition was published in the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series. The Spanish translation, Breve historian de la superstición, was published by Alianza editorial on January 13 (!), 2022. My latest book, The Uses of Delusion: Why It’s Not Always Rational to be Rational (Oxford, 2022), is out now in the US in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook. It will be published in the UK in August 2022.

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.


Google Scholar Citations

Researchgate profile

Recent Posts

Biden’s Superstition, Skeptical Inquirer, and Problems with Peer Review

It has been five months since I last posted here, which is an indication of how busy I have

been editing Skeptical Inquirer magazine. At this point, I have edited two issues of the magazine, the  March/April issue, which featured memorials to our late editor, Kendrick Frazier, and the May/June issue devoted to medical pseudoscience from all over the world. The July/August issue is underway now. It has been gratifying to work on the magazine, but I have decided not to put my hat in the ring to be the continuing editor. The search for a new editor is underway now.

On April 25th Joe Biden announced his re-election campaign—exactly four years after announcing his successful run for the 2020 nomination. That bit of superstition was the topic of an op-ed I wrote for the CNN Opinion page entitled “Biden picks a lucky day to launch his campaign. Is it OK that he’s superstitious?” Writing this piece gave me the opportunity to review the colorful history of presidential superstitions—some of which were worse than others.

Although I am busy editing Skeptical Inquirer, I have not entirely given up writing my Behavior & Belief column for the magazine. My most recent column was “Can We Trust Peer Review Journals?” I describe a number of problems associated with open-access journals. I also recount an embarrassing episode involving Frontiers journals, an open-access publisher that has been associated with a number of shoddy practices.

That’s all for now. Happy Spring!


  1. Kendrick Frazier, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Delusional Translations, & Test Anxiety Leave a reply
  2. Book Launch, Autism Politics, & Autumn Comes to New England Leave a reply
  3. Train Wrecks, Pods, and Future Talks Leave a reply
  4. The Character of Science Podcast & Stonington Library Talk Video Leave a reply
  5. Stonington Library Talk, etc. Leave a reply
  6. Book Launch & Room Rater Leave a reply
  7. Friday the 13th, the Shermer Show, & #1 Leave a reply
  8. Zoom Book Talk & Friday May 13th Event Leave a reply
  9. Book Launch & the Autism Spectrum Leave a reply