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

TED Ed “Where Do Superstitions Come From?”

For the last nine months or so I have been working on a video with a very talented group of writers and animators from the TED Ed organization. TED Ed is a division of the TED organization that produces short educational videos and makes them available, with accompanying background information, for free on their website and on YouTube. Our video, “Where Do Superstitions Come From?,” was released yesterday.

 

I was delighted to see how the animators brought the script alive, and I love all the little touches of humor. I hope you enjoy it, too.

All for now.

SV

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