Stuart Vyse

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Stuart Vyse
Stuart Vyse CSICon 2016 Is Brain Training a Scam Partrait.jpg
Born (1950-11-18) November 18, 1950 (age 68)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationBehavioral scientist, teacher, writer
Known forExpertise on belief in the supernatural
Awards1999 William James Book Award for Believing in Magic.
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Rhode Island
ThesisThe effects of methylphenidate on learning in children with attention deficit disorder: The stimulus equivalence paradigm (1989)
Academic work
DisciplinePsychology
Sub-disciplineBehavioral science
Institutions
Notable works
  • Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (2013)
  • Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can't Hold On To Their Money (2018)
Websitestuartvyse.com

Stuart Vyse is an American psychologist, teacher, speaker and award-winning author who specializes in belief in superstitions and critical thinking. He is frequently invited as a speaker and interviewed by the media as an expert on superstitious behavior. His book Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition won the American Psychological Association's William James Book Award.

Education and teaching[edit]

Vyse earned his B.A. and M.A. in English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He went on to an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He taught at Connecticut College from 1987 to 2015, where he has been Joanne Toor Cummings '50 Professor. He also taught at Providence College and the University of Rhode Island.[1][2][3]

Vyse has served on the editorial board of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, The Behavior Analyst and The Psychological Record. He has been on the editorial board of Skeptic Magazine since 1997, and since 2015 he has written the “Behavior & Belief” column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, where he is also a contributing editor.[1][4]

He holds fellowships in two organizations: The Association for Psychological Science and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[5][6]

Superstition and critical thinking[edit]

Vyse is frequently sought after by the American news media to explain why people believe in superstitions and how people make financial decisions.[4][7][8][3] Vyse believes superstitions come from a need to have some measure of control over events people hope will happen, or seek to avoid. This behavior is reinforced by the tendency of the human brain to detect patterns in events, even when they're completely due to chance. That motivates people to attribute a favorable outcome to a good-luck charm, for instance. Finding a way to control the outcome of an uncertain situation brings some comfort. While this behavior may help reduce anxiety, it may also cause people to gamble excessively, to base decisions on unreliable techniques such as fortune-telling or to endanger their health, for example by using homeopathy rather than actual medication.[4][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Vyse suspects superstition may be on the rise, due to a large amount of false information circulating on the internet and insufficient critical thinking skills: "There's a willingness to accept almost anything, which is unfortunate, and promotes superstition".[9] As a skeptic, he has been advocating for public policies based on science[4] and has been critical of populist heads of state who such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro.[15]

He used to teach a college-level seminar on critical thinking, logical fallacies and debate argumentation.[12] He has been critical of medical treatments and techniques based on pseudoscience, such as facilitated communication.[16]

Remarking that superstitions are often passed on from parents to their children, Vyse stated that his family, who were Protestant, did not indulge in superstition when he was growing up and he was never superstitious himself.[4][17][18]

Books and book chapters[edit]

  • (in press) Vyse, Stuart (2020). Superstition: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-198-81925-7.[7][19]
  • Vyse, Stuart (2018-08-25). "Chapter 8: The Environment and Consumer Behavior". In Sloan Devlin, Ann (ed.). Environmental Psychology and Human Well-Being: Effects of Built and Natural Settings. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-128-11481-0.
  • Vyse, Stuart (2015-10-14). "Chapter 1: Where Do Fads Come From?". In Foxx, Richard M. (ed.). Controversial Therapies for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice, 2nd Edition. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-315-75434-5.
  • Vyse, Stuart (2018). Going Broke: Why Americans (still) Can't Hold On To Their Money (Updated ed.). New York: Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 978-0-190-67784-8.
  • Vyse, Stuart (2013). Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (Updated ed.). New York: Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 978-0-199-99692-6.

Vyse was awarded the 1999 William James Book Award by the American Psychological Association for Believing in Magic.[7][8]

Selected journal publications[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018". Association for behavior Analysis International. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ Vyse, Stuart. "Stuart Vyse psychologist & writer". stuartvyse.com. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Author: Stuart Vyse". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e Rocha, Camilo (2019-08-11). "Por que acreditar em superstições pode ser ruim para o mundo". Nexo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  5. ^ "APS Fellows". Association for Psychological Science. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  6. ^ "Meet the new fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry". Center For Inquiry. 2015-10-16. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ a b c "William James Book Award". Minnesota State University Moorhead. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ a b c "Author: Stuart Vyse". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Why You Believe In Ghosts, Even Though You Know Better". Huffington Post. 2014-10-30. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ Goldhill, Olivia (2016-08-13). "Athletes who wear "lucky socks" aren't wrong: Psychologists say superstitions yield real advantages". Quartz. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ Vyse, Stuart (2018-05-18). "Why Are Millennials Turning To Astrology?". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ a b Novella, Steven (2006-11-10). Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Episode #64 (Podcast). SGU Production. Event occurs at 36:00.
  13. ^ Flatow, Ira (2003-08-29). Science and Pseudoscience (Radio program). NPR.
  14. ^ Gomez, Ana (2019-08-09). "Entrevista: Las supersticiones cambian la salud (para bien y para mal)". Noticias RTV (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ Alves, Gabriel (2019-08-11). "Equiparar ciência a opinião atende a interesses e destrói conhecimento". Fohla de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ Vyse, Stuart (2018-08-07). "Autism Wars: Science Strikes Back". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. ^ Kaneria, Krupa (2017-01-13). "Q&A with Friday the 13th debunker Stuart Vyse". The Daily Tar Heel. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ "Medo dos deuses deu origem às superstições, diz o psicólogo Stuart Vyse". Paulopes.com (in Portuguese). 2019-08-24. Archived from the original on 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. ^ "Superstition: A Very Short Introduction". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)