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Supersense: From Superstition to Religion - The Brain Science of Belief Paperback – 14 May 2009


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Supersense: From Superstition to Religion - The Brain Science of Belief + The Self Illusion: Why There is No 'You' Inside Your Head + The Ego Trick
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; 1st edition edition (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849010307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849010306
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Bruce Hood s fascinating, timely and important book..Hood s presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging ....perhaps the millions who read and loved that book (Dawkins' God Delusion) can also read and learn to love - Supersense. - New Scientist
An intriguing look at a feature of the human mind that is subtle in its operation but profound in its consequences. - Steven Pinker
A fascinating cornucopia of weird and strange stories and incidents that combine to present both a physiological and psychological case for the human instinct to need to believe. I would thoroughly recommend this book. --Stephen Woolley
Marvelous … chock full of real-world examples reinforced by experimental research, Hood builds a theoretical model to explain how the mind comes to sense that there is something beyond the natural world, something supernatural …. This book is an important contribution to the psychological literature that is revealing the actuality of our very irrational human nature. - Michael Shermer, Science
A fun and thought-provoking read … you will find something here to challenge the way you see yourself and others. --BBC Focus magazine
A fascinating cornucopia of weird and strange stories and incidents that combine to present both a physiological and psychological case for the human instinct to need to believe. I would thoroughly recommend this book. --Stephen Woolley
A fascinating and readable book, and one of the best books on the subject of why everyone sometimes believes weird things. --Fortean Times
A fascinating cornucopia of weird and strange stories and incidents that combine to present both a physiological and psychological case for the human instinct to need to believe. I would thoroughly recommend this book. --Stephen Woolley

A fascinating and readable book, and one of the best books on the subject of why everyone sometimes believes weird things. --Fortean Times

A fascinating cornucopia of weird and strange stories and incidents that combine to present both a physiological and psychological case for the human instinct to need to believe. I would thoroughly recommend this book. --Stephen Woolley

Book Description

A fascinating and engaging examination of why we believe in the supernatural.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kevin G. Tingay on 27 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
Hood is the Director of the Cognitive Development Centre at the University of Bristol. He has written a fascinating account of his theory that the human mind is `hardwired' towards a belief in the supernatural, which manifest itself in the propensity of peoples in all ages and cultures to adopt beliefs which range from superstition to profound religious viewpoints. Though himself a sceptic with regard to many such outlooks he adopts a sympathetic stance, and thinks that the majority of his readers will tend towards support rather than scepticism. He examines with skill and enthusiasm the strange illogicalities which show themselves in human lives the world over, including those who might be considered sensible and rational in most respects. For those who hold both a religious faith, and try to take a serious but sympathetic attitude towards the paranormal, this is a text that should be read. Apart from the interest of Hood's thesis, the book is written with both wit and wisdom, and could be good reading whether at the desk or in the armchair.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this a most absorbing read, particularly because though I agreed with the rationale behind much of it I did also find myself arguing, enjoyably rather than angrily, as there are manifestations of `supersense' which I believe he rather ignores, dismissing certain things which exist and there have been statistical studies on (e.g. telepathy)

Hood examines the reason why we are, as a species, prone to `supernatural' thinking and have an inbuilt tendency, rather than just a cultural tendency, to the perception of `sacred'. Briefly, we are programmed to see patterns and connections. The world may be full of randomness, but we see patterns which connect some of that randomness and make it meaningful. We are a patterning, and a cause and effect species. We are a species which invests meaning. Hood does not quite say this, but it seems to me to make perfect gut sense that as a trade-off for our awareness of mortality, and perhaps an overwhelming felt sense of a random, uncaring universe, we make certain connections, and invest meaning, and benevolent design to our world.

I admit to being a `patterner'. I probably always was. However, curiously, now seeing patterns of benevolence rather than patterns of indifference, there is no doubt that this has had a profoundly positive effect on me as an individual and as an individual in society.

He shows how much all of us, even the most `rational' are affected by `essential thinking' - that is, an irrational investiture of some meaningful quality in both animate and inanimate objects, which can be caught, or `infect' a person in some way.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jules on 22 May 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Compared to some of the books of the same genre, which often seem to unravel into an angry rant against God/gods, this book is rational and scientific. Professor Hood's tone is gentle, endearing, and witty. He exposes and explains the evolutionary reasons for human superstition and religion, without any moral judgement, but with a lot of sense! I can't recommend highly enough to skeptics and believers alike.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader on 3 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Fascinating book I really enjoyed it! It is quite a page turner from Chapter 1 but could also be dipped into for witty anecdotes throughout. There is no need to be a scientist as it is aimed at the general public and if you have an interest in why humans behave in the way they do, particularly around the superstitious and religion, then you will definitely want to read this book. I found it a very balanced view and smoothly written with excellent examples. A fascinating and accessible book that ought to be a best seller!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By H. Goswami on 28 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book this couple of days back, and since then I have never looked back, I am almost coming to the end of a remarkable and informative journey.
Coming from a religious family, I have always questioned my faith, cultural and certain superstitions which are omnipresent. But I have always been interested in finding out how and exactly why we have these superstitions and beliefs.
Reading this book, chapter by chapter, by questions are being answered - thanks to Bruce's brilliant writing skills and great sens of humour.

So what are you waiting for?? Own this book!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Braterman on 20 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... for our openness to supernatural beliefs of all kinds, religious "psychic", or simply superstitious. Prof Hood develops his argument with repeated appeals to common experience and to experimental data.

The author, a professor of developmental psychology, relates these to the way our minds work, just as optical illusions are related to the way our visual cortex works. For example, from early in life, we regard physical objects as being moved by mental forces. That is the way we inevitably continue to feel about our own bodies, even if philosophically we know that this is absurd. Hence the supernatural belief that events must have a "why" as well as a "how".

This is only one of several important ideas developed here, but I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling your pleasure in reading this book. Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever is not going to be changed by reading this book, nor is that the intention, but what will be changed is your degree of insight into your own mind and the minds of others.
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