We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Cover

Superstition: A Very Short Introduction

Stuart Vyse

January 2020

ISBN: 9780198819257

168 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

Do you touch wood for luck, or avoid the number 13? Despite the dominance of science in today's world, superstitious beliefs - both traditional and new - remain surprisingly popular. From black cats to lucky pennies, Stuart Vyse explores the history of our deepest superstitions, and the psychological reasons behind why they persist today.

Share:

Description

Do you touch wood for luck, or avoid the number 13? Despite the dominance of science in today's world, superstitious beliefs - both traditional and new - remain surprisingly popular. From black cats to lucky pennies, Stuart Vyse explores the history of our deepest superstitions, and the psychological reasons behind why they persist today.

  • Explores the history of our deepest superstitions, and the psychological reasons behind why they persist today
  • Reveals the surprising connections between current everyday superstitions and the ancient world
  • Provides an up-to-date assessment of the psychological foundations of superstitious belief
  • Gives an overview of the fascinating array of contemporary superstitions throughout the world
  • Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over ten million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

Stuart Vyse, Independent scholar, psychologist, and author

Stuart Vyse is a behavioral scientist, teacher, and writer. He holds PhD and MA degrees in psychology and BA and MA degrees in English Literature. He taught at Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and Connecticut College, where he was Joanne Toor Cummings '50 Professor. Vyse has written two books: Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (OUP, 1997), which won the 1999 William James Book Award of the American Psychological Association, and Going Broke: Why Americans Can't Hold on to Their Money, an analysis of the current epidemic of personal debt, the second edition of which (Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can't Hold on to Their Money) is due to publish in 2018. He has written dozens of personal essays, most of which have appeared as op-eds in various newspapers and online publications, and he is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1:The meanings of superstition
    2:Religious superstition
    3:Secular superstition
    4:Superstition today
    5:Why do people believe?
    6:The future of superstition
    Further reading
    Index

Reviews

"Stimulating and informative." - Alexander Faludy, Church Times

"This succinct summary of the history of and psychology behind superstition is so superb that I am adopting it for my college course on critical thinking and recommend it be required reading for all social science students. Stuart Vyse is such a marvelous writer and clear thinker, in fact, that this book should be required reading for all humans susceptible to superstitions, which is to say all of humanity." - Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine

"Stuart Vyse has packed a lot into this little book, including a comprehensive discussion of the way in which the concept of superstition has changed across the ages, the psychology of superstition, and the implications of superstitious thinking for the modern world - all presented in an engaging and informative style. Highly recommended!" - Professor Chris French, Goldsmiths, University of London