Why We Believe In The Unbelievable
|Author(s)||Bruce M. Hood (www.brucemhood.com)|
|Description||The majority of the world's population is religious or believes in supernatural phenomena. In the United States, nine out of every ten adults believe in God, and a recent Gallup poll found that about three out of four Americans believe in some form of telepathy, déjà vu, ghosts, or past lives. Where does such supernatural thinking come from? Are we indoctrinated by our parents, churches, and media, or do such beliefs originate somewhere else? In SuperSense, award-winning cognitive scientist Bruce M. Hood reveals the science behind our beliefs in the supernatural.
Superstitions are common. Many of us cross our fingers, knock on wood, step around black cats, and avoid walking under ladders. John McEnroe refused to step on the white lines of a tennis court between points. Wade Boggs insisted on eating a chicken dinner before every Boston Red Sox game. President Barack Obama played a game of basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary and continued the tradition on every subsequent election day.
Supernatural thinking includes loftier beliefs as well, such as the sentimental value we place on photos of loved ones, weddings rings, and teddy bears. It also includes spiritual beliefs and the hope for an afterlife. But in this modern, scientific age, why do we hold on to these behaviors and beliefs?
It turns out that beliefs in things beyond what is rational or natural is common to humans and appears very early in childhood. In fact, according to Hood, this "super sense" is something we're born with to develop and is essential to the way we learn to understand the world. We couldn't live without it!
Our minds are designed from the very start to think there are unseen patterns, forces, and essences inhabiting the world, and it is unlikely that any effort to get rid of supernatural beliefs, or the superstitious behaviors that accompany them, will be successful. These common beliefs and sacred values are essential in binding us together as a society because they help is to see ourselves connected to each other at a deeper level.
Today we divide the world into natural and supernatural. We use our five senses to understand the natural world, but our senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing do not account for our sense of the supernatural. In SuperSense, cognitive psychologist Bruce Hood examines the ways in which humans understand the supernatural, revealing a deeper look into what makes us believe in the unbelievable.
|Dedication||"I dedicate this book to my girls"|
|Book Dimensions||Width: 6.38″ (6 3/8″)|
|Height: 9.38″ (9 3/8″)|
|Depth: 1.13″ (1 1/8″)|
|Contents||Prologue, ten (10) chapters, Epilogue, Acknowledgements, Source Notes, Index|
|Book Design||Sharon VanLoozenoord|
|Author Photograph||Jason Ingram|
|Published||April 09, 2009|
|Publisher||HarperOne: An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers (www.harperone.com)|
|Copyright||© 2009 by Bruce M. Hood|
|Printed in||United States of America|
|Book Format||Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audible (Unabridged)|
|Quoted Reviews||"There has been a lot written about religion, superstition, and faith, but there has never been a book like this.... SuperSense is a joy to read, deeply clever and funny, replete with brilliant insights and observations." — Paul Bloom, professor of psychology, Yale University and author of Descartes' Baby
"Reading SuperSense is like having lunch with your favorite professor—the conversation spans religion biology, psychology, philosophy, and early childhood development. One thing is for sure, you'll never see the world in the same way again." — Ori Brafman, author of Sway
"Magical thinking is a defining feature of the human mind—the source of all that is sublime and absurd about our species. In this timely exploration of the psychology of irrational belief, Bruce Hood pulls off the rare feat of being both authoritative and wonderfully entertaining. Brilliant." — Paul Broks, author of Into the Silent Land
"SuperSense is a terrifically fun read. But it is much more; though we may forever believe in ghosts, goblins, and beneficent deities, with a dose of skeptical realism, à la Hood, there is hope that sanity will prevail." — Marc Hauser, professor of psychology, Harvard University and author of Moral Minds
|Best Seller's List||--|
|Other||A paperback edition of this book is titled The Science of Superstition.
Bruce M. Hood is chair of the Cognitive Development Center in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He was a research fellow at Cambridge and has been a visiting scientist at MIT and professor at Harvard. Hood has received many awards for his work in child development and cognitive neuroscience. Visit the author online at www.brucemhood.com.
|Library of Congress
|1. Belief and doubt.|
|3. Psychology and religion.|
|4. Psychology, Religious.|
|LC Control Number||2008015038|
|LC Call Number||BF773.H66 2008|
|DDC Call Number||153.4—dc22|
"This disorder [Capgras Syndrome] is a delusional state in which the sufferer typically believes that family members have been abducted and replaced with identical replicants. Thankfully, the disorder is very rare; only a handful of cases have been reported in the literature. The delusion is associated with paranoia and can be very dangerous. Sufferers have ben known to kill 'imposters.'" (Hood, ed 2009, p.218)How creepy is that? There was mention that a man had to cover all the items that reflect, namely mirrors, because his wife suffers from Capgras. He finds that whenever she sees the reflection, she thinks it's another woman—not her—who looks like her about to rob her blind and take her husband. And if that isn't terrifyingly strange, this should:
"The problem in Capgras syndrome is that this emotional tag is missing from the process, and so the sufferer cannot feel that these are the same people, pets, and things that he and or she used to experience before the illness. The only logical answer must be that these are not the same people, pets, or things. Rather, they must be identical copies. It's the only way for the Capgras patient to make sense of the experience. This leads to the paranoid delusion that there is a conspiracy to replace things in the world." (Hood, ed 2009, p.219)I remember when websites like Twitter had a huge trend about doppelgängers, and if by-golly our identical copies can replace us after death, it would be really creepy. However, wouldn't that give us a better distinction that we will 'live' forever? Personally speaking, I'm a huge introvert, and do I, by any chance after death, get replaced by my exact clone, who would be more social and outgoing and vice versa? Of course it's a rare disorder, but it sure is a crazy phenomenon.