Samuel Paul Louis Veissière, Ph.D.

An anthropologist and cognitive scientist, Samuel Veissière is an Assistant Professor and Co-director of the Culture, Mind, and Brain Program where he is affiliated with the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, the Department of Anthropology, and the Raz Lab in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Dr. Veissière studies the interaction between cognition, culture, and human behavior in evolutionary and developmental perspectives. As humans, our evolved psychology is adapted (and constantly adapting!) to the unique challenges of being a social, cultural, political, and cooperative species. Samuel and his colleagues draw on range of experimental, ethnographic, and theoretical models and methods to study the cognitive underpinnings of culture, and the role of culture and context in shaping the regimes of attention, expectations and intuitions that drive human behaviour. 

He is the author of The Ghosts of Empire (Transaction, 2011) and a number of articles and book chapters on topics ranging from Internet-mediated experience and sociality, theories of Self and consciousness, emergent sociality, street survival and the politics and ethics of research to socio-cognitive dimensions of hypnosis and placebo effects.

His other interests include ecological and evolutionary approaches to addiction and ritual, the poetics of emptiness, and research on the social dimensions of phenomenal consciousness and psychedelic experiences.

You can follow his featured blog on Culture, Mind, and Brain at Psychology Today.


Dr. Veissière accepts a limited amount of post-doc, graduate and honour’s undergraduate students for supervision in anthropology, cultural psychiatry, social neuroscience, and cognitive science-related disciplines on the following topics: 

Cultural learning; social cognition and cognitive biases; placebo effects and hypnosis; perception and illusions; sociality and cooperation; childhood and comparative childrearing; cyberanthropology; addiction; romantic love; personhood; psychedelics; Brazil; indigenous livelihoods (esp. Canadian sub-arctic and Brazilian Amazon).

In the news (TV, radio, and magazine interviews)

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” (in French).

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” (popular science reality TV episode dedicated to our work on neurosuggestion).

Language Evolution and Memory Tricks, BBC Radio 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 in Vice Magazine, Vice Germany (in German) Le Monde, (in French), Fusion Media's Real Future, Primemind, Savageminds.

CKUT Radio Moon, Montreal. 15Min interview on New 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”.

Selected Publications (including popular media)

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).

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’. In. Friedman, M., & Schultermandl. S. (eds.). Growing up Transnational: Family and Kinship in a Global Era. Toronto, ON: Toronto University Press.

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 in postcolonial Brazil’. In. Pramela, K. et al (eds) (2007) Discourses on culture and identity: An interdisciplinary perspective. Kuala Lumpur: Pearson-Longman. Pp106-129.