Despite the many scientific and technological advances of modern life, superstition persists and, by some measures, is increasing in popularity. As a result, today there is a lively stream of research on the psychology of superstition, much of which is marketing studies inspired by the remarkable rise of the Chinese economy. This talk will review current trends in superstitious beliefs and the latest research on the psychology of those beliefs. Finally, he will discuss some of the current challenges faced by the skeptical community in the United States and elsewhere. We hope to get your thoughts about the proper role of skeptics in today’s world—a place where too often basic truths are rejected and wildly implausible ideas are uncritically endorsed.
Stuart Vyse is a behavioral scientist, teacher, and writer. He is a contributing editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, for which he writes the “Behavior & Belief” column, both online and in print. He has written personal and professional essays in a variety of places, including the Observer, Medium, The Atlantic, The Good Men Project, Tablet, and Time.