Samuel Paul Louis Veissière, Ph.D.

Samuel Veissière is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, co-director of the Culture, Mind, and Brain program, and Associate Member in the Department of Anthropology.


An interdisciplinary anthropologist and cognitive scientist, he studies social dimensions of cognition, consciousness, and human well-being through a variety of projects including placebo effects and hypnosis, hyper-sociality in smartphone addiction, social polarization, gender and mental health, and the theoretical study of cultural evolution. Having first earned a PhD in anthropology, he completed postdoctoral studies in cognitive and behavioural science with additional training in contemplative science, microphenomenological interviewing, clinical hypnosis, cultural psychiatry, public health, and cognitive neuroscience. He has worked with such varied populations as street children, indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the Amazon, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and people who intentionally conjure friendly auditory hallucinations. His work is motivated by a keen attention to multiple facets of the human experience from ethnographic, phenomenological, cross-cultural, developmental, evolutionary, neuroscientific, experimental, and clinical perspectives.

He has published broadly and spoken in the media on novel theories and experimental findings on the social nature of attention, cognition, mental health, and healing, and on the impact of the internet and new technologies on human sociality and well-being.


Dr. Veissière accepts a limited number of honour’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students for supervision in Psychiatry, Cognitive Science, Anthropology, and related disciplines on topics related to consciousness studies, cultural evolution, social dimensions of cognition and mental health, placebo effects and hypnosis, human-technology interaction, internet and social media addiction, gender and mental health, and the culture and mental health of millennials and Generation Z.  



Journal Articles

Veissière, S. P., Constant, A., Ramstead, M., Friston, K., & Kirmayer, L. (2019). Thinking Through Other Minds: A Variational Approach to Cognition and Culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-97. doi:10.1017/S0140525X19001213

Constant, A., Ramstead, M. J., Veissière, S. P., & Friston, K. (2019). Regimes of Expectations: An Active Inference Model of Social Conformity and Decision Making. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 679.

Olson, J., Suissa-Rocheleau, L., Lifshitz., L., Raz., A., & Veissière, S. P.  (Submitted) Tripping on nothing: Placebo psychedelics and contextual factors.

Veissière, S. P., Olson, J.., Lifshitz., L., & Raz., A., (Submitted) Positive suggestions and placebo machines to improve self-regulation in behavioural disorders: A feasibility study.

Olson, J., Stendel, M., & Veissière, S. P. (Submitted) Hypnotised by your phone?  Smartphone overuse correlates with hypnotic suggestibility. 

Gomez-Carrillo, A., Lencucha, R., Faregh, N., Veissière, S. P., & Kirmayer, L. (under review) Fostering Reflexive Deliberation in Practice: A Framework for Enhancing Cultural and Context Responsiveness in mhGAP Implementation. Bulletin of the World Health Organization: Perspectives

Veissière, S. P. (2018). “Toxic Masculinity in the Age of #MeToo: Ritual, Morality, and Gender Archetypes Across Cultures.  Society and Business Review.

Thibault, R. T.,Veissière, S., Olson, J. A., & Raz, A. (2018).EEG-neurofeedback and the correction of misleading information.Journal of Attention Disorders.

Marini, D., Medema, W., Adamowski, J.,Veissière, S. P., Mayer, I., & Wals, A. E. (2018) Socio-Psychological Perspectives on the Potential for Serious Games to Promote Transcendental Values in IWRM Decision-Making. Water.

Thibault, R. T., Veissière, S., Olson, J. A., & Raz, A. (in press). Treating ADHD with suggestion: Neurofeedback and placebo therapeutics. Journal of Attention Disorders.

Constant, A., Ramstead, M. , Veissière, S.., & Friston, K. (in press). A Variational Approach to Niche Construction. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 

Veissiere, S. (in review). ‘Varieties of the Intentional Experience: Cognitive Ideology, Translucence, Complexity. Anthropological Theory.

Veissière, S. & Stendel, M. (2018). Hypernatural Monitoring: a Social Rehearsal Account of Smartphone Addiction. Front. Psychol. (Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology) doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00141

Veissière, S. (2017). Cultural Markov Blankets? Mind the Other Minds Gap! Physics of Life Reviews.

Veissière, S. (2017). When Healing is a No-Brainer, Psychology Today Magazine (15) 4, pp66-90.

Kirmayer, L.J., Gomez-Carrillo, A., & Veissière, S. (2017). Culture and depression in global mental health: An ecosocial approach to the phenomenology of psychiatric disorders, Social Science and Medicine, 183: 163-168.

Ramstead M, Veissière S and, Kirmayer L (2016). Cultural Affordances: Scaffolding Local Worlds Through Shared Intentionality and Regimes of Attention. Front. Psychol. 7:1090.

Veissière, S. (2016). Cultural Affordances and the Neuroscience of Expectations Explain Cell-Phone Addiction, Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2016). Did We Evolve To Be Monogamous?, Psychology Today.

Veissiére, S. (2016). Daring to Hear Voices. Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2016). ‘Varieties of Tulpa Experiences: The Hypnotic Nature of Human Sociality, Personhood, and Interphenomenality’. In. Amir Raz and Michael Lifshitz (eds). Hypnosis and meditation: Towards an integrative science of conscious planes. Oxford University Press.

Veissière, S. & Gibbs-Bravo, L. (2016). ‘Juicing: Ritual, Purity and Placebo Sociality in a   Community of Extreme Eaters’. In. Cargill, K. (forthcoming). Food Cults. Lanham, MD: Rowman &   Littlefield.

Veissière, S. (2016). A Mind of One's Own? Eros, Opacity, and the Loneliness of Consciousness, Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2016). Caring For Others is What Made Our Species Unique, Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2016). Do We Live in the Matrix? Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2015). ‘Varieties of Tulpa Experiences: Sentient Imaginary Friends, Embodied Joint Attention, and Hypnotic Sociality in a Wired World’Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology.

Veissière, S. (2016) 'The Internet is Not a River: Space, Movement and Relationality in a Wired World'. In. Friedman, M., & Schultermandl. S. (eds.). Click and Kin: Transnational Identity and Quick Media. University of Toronto Press.

Veissière, S. & Gibbs-Bravo, L. (2016). ‘Juicing: Ritual, Purity and ‘Addiction’ in a Community of Extreme Eaters’. In. Cargill, K. Food Cults. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Veissière, S. (2012). The Ghosts of Empire: Violence, Suffering, and Mobility in the Transatlantic Cultural Economy of Desire.. Lit Verlag: London & Berlin (monograph series Contributions to transnational Feminisms series, Vol 3 -).

Veissière, S. (2010). ‘Making a Living: The Gringo Ethnographer as Pimp of the Suffering in the Late Capitalist Night’. Cultural Studies <> Critical Methodologies. 10(2).


The Ghosts of Empire: Violence, Suffering, and Mobility in the Transatlantic Cultural Economy of Desire. 2011. Transaction Publishers: (Contributions to transnational Feminisms series, Vol 3).

Books Chapters

Stendel, M., & Ramstead, M, &Veissière, S. (in press) Internet sociality. In. Cummings, C. & Kirmayer, L. (Eds.)Culture, Mind, Brain. Cambridge University Press

Veissière, S. (in press) Neuroplacebo: When healing is a no-brainer.In. Thibault, R, & Raz, A (eds).The Dark Side of Brain Imaging.Elsevier.

Veissière, S. (2016). ‘Varieties of Tulpa Experiences: The Hypnotic Nature of Human Sociality, Personhood, and Interphenomenality’. In. Amir Raz and Michael Lifshitz (eds)Hypnosis and meditation: Towards an integrative science of conscious planes. Oxford University Press.

Veissière, S. (2016).'The Internet is Not a River: Space, Movement and Personhood in a Wired World'. In.Friedman, M., & Schultermandl. S. (eds.).Click and Kin: Transnational Identity and Quick Media. (forthcoming, University of Toronto Press)

Veissière, S. & Gibbs-Bravo, L. (2016). ‘Juicing: Language, Ritual, and Placebo Sociality in a Community of Extreme Eaters’. In. Cargill, K..Food Cults: How Fads, Dogma, and Doctrine Influence Diet.Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Veissière, S. (2010). Notes and Queries for an Activist Street Anthropology: Street Resistance, Gringopolítica, and the Quest for Subaltern Visions in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil . In Kapoor, D. & Jordan, S.Education, Participatory Action Research, and Social Change.Palgrave-MacMillan, pp208-222.

Veissière, S. (2010). ‘Time and Space in the Life of Pierre S. Weiss: Autoethnographic engagements with trans/dis/location’. In. Friedman, M., & Schultermandl. S. (eds.).Growing up Transnational: Family and Kinship in a Global Era. Toronto, ON: Toronto University Press. *invited submission

Veissière, S., & Diversi, M. (2008). ‘Popular education, Hegemony, and Brazilian street-children: Toward an ethnographic praxis’ In. Kapoor, D., & Abdi, A. (eds.) (2008)Adult Education in international perspectives: Voices from the South.New York: Palgrave/MacMillan. pp193-207.

Veissière, S. (2007). ‘Tropicalism: Misplaced logocentrism and the production of tropical(ist) identities inpostcolonial Brazil’. In. Pramela, K. et al (eds) (2007)Discourses on culture and identity: An interdisciplinary perspective. KL: Pearson-Longman. Pp106-129.

Popular Science (selected)

Veissiere, S. (2018). Hunting Predators: #MeToo and the Strange Psychology of Mob Justice. Areo Magazine.

Veissiere, S. (2018). Plaidoyer pour des archétypes de genres nuancés.L'Inconvenient,Veissière, S.(2017) When Healing is a No-Brainer,Psychology Today(15)4, pp66-90.

Veissière, S. (2017). ‘Ne vous Trumpez pas !Ou comment « l’effet Trump » explique le comportement humain, pas seulement la politique américaine’.Le Monde/InternetActu

Veissière, S. (2018). The Real Problem With Toxic Masculinity: Why Our Culture Needs Strong and Nuanced Gender Archetypes. Psychology Today.

Veissière, S. (2018). Single Fathers Have Alarmingly High Mortality Rates: is Anti-Male Culture the Real Problem?

Interviews, Media Coverage, and Public Lectures

HEC Montreal, rentrée pedagogique 2018. Diabolique Cellulaire.(Public lecture in French on smartphone addiction)

Radio Canada Mourir à cause d’un egoportrait, October 09, 2018

Journal le Canadien, Le nombre de mort par égoportrait ne cesse d’augmenter dans le monde, October 6, 2018

Radio Canada, Devrait-on adapter les examens pour réduire le stress chez les jeunes? October 10, 2018

Radio Canada Le mal-être ravage les campus. August 9, 2018

Chatelaine, Notre dépendance au téléphone intelligent serait naturelle, et d’autres nouvelles santé,Aug, 2018

L’Actualité, il est temps de décrocher. July 1, 2918

CBC,This former magician uses suggestion to heal people. June 18, 2018

Ozy Media You’re not addicted to your smartphone -- you just really like other people, April 1, 2018

The Independent Hypernatural Monitoring: the real reason why we are addicted to our phones.March 14, 2018

Co.Design How evolutionary biology explains smartphone addiction,March 12, 2018

MedicalXPress: we’re not addicted to smartphones, March 10, 2018

The Hindu:hypersocial tendencies behind smartphone addiction, March 10, 2018

New Zealand Herald: weird science: the reason we’re addicted to smartphones, March 10, 2018

Daily Mail (UK) Are smartphones really making us anti-social? March 8, 2018

Consumer Affairs, smartphone addiction caused by users’ need to be social, study findsMarch 8, 2018

Veissiere, S.Rainville, P., Marchand, S., Lafrenaye, Sylvie, ‘Débat: Faut-il dire oui aux thérapies placebo?’ UQAM Coeur des Sciences, March 7, 2018

Radio Canada, s’isoler pour fuir les distractions, March 7, 2018

Veja (Brazil). Vício em smartphone não existe, diz pesquisador, February 24, 2018

Business Insider, what it’s actually like to hear voices in your head, February 22, 2018

Vice Motherboard (Brazil)Não existe vício em smartphones, February 21, 2018

PsychCentral:Smart-phone addiction may actually represent social needs. February 16, 2018

CampusTechnology: “smartphone addiction is normal need to connect on overdrive”, February 10, 2018 “Accros à nos téléphones intelligents? Non, plutôt à nos semblables. February 9, 2018 (in French)

HypeScience, Não somos viciados em smartphones. February 9, 2018 (in portuguese)

Tendencias tecnológicas, “Los móviles excitan el sistema de recompensa del cerebro”, February 8, 2018 (in Spanish)

Notizie scientifiche “Non siamo dipendenti dallo smartphone ma dall’interazione sociale”, February 8, 2018 (in Italian)

TekCrispi Ciencia ‘somos adictos a socializar - no a nuestros smartphones, asegura nuevo estudio’, February 7 (in spanish)

Futurity Research News: “we’re ‘addicted’ to socializing, not our smartphones”, February 6, 2018

McGill Newsroom Press release: “we’re not addicted to smartphones; we’re addicted to social interaction”, February 6, 2018

CTV news, January 9, 2018 “Smartphone addiction and children

Radio Canada, December 21, 2017. “L’addiction au Selfie

McGill Tribune, December 6, 2017, “Say ‘no’ to the nocebo

McGill Psychiatry News: “A new experiment on the healing power of suggestion and placebo neuroscience by Prof Samuel Veissière, PhD and Jay Olson, MSc”, 21 December, 2017

Mind Field, Season 2, “The Power of Suggestion” (episode dedicated to our work on neurosuggestion)

New York Post, July 31, 2017 “Psychology magazines are full of nonsense

BBC Radio,Language Evolution and Memory Tricks,interview/podcast for the Sunday Sequence show, February 2017

Le pouvoir du neuroenchantement, InternetActu (brief french article on neuroenchantment and our work with placebo healing).

Research on Tulpamancy featured inVice Magazine,Vice Germany(in German)Le Monde,(in French),Fusion Media's Real Future,Primemind,Savageminds,

CKUT Radio Moon, Montreal. 15Min interview onNew Horizons in Psychedelic Psychiatry.November 16, 2015

Etnografia Experimental 45min televised lecture and interview (in Portuguese) on experimental ethnography.TV Cultura Amazonas, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil, May 2012. .

Jornal Beira do Rio, Universidade Federal do Pará (August 2010). Interview (in Portuguese) about my book by the magazine Beira do Rio “Pesquisador investiga relacões amorosas transnacionais: o antropólogo Samuel Veissière conversa sobre turismo sexual e casamentos transnacionais”.


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