Supersense: From Superstition to Religion - The Brain Science of Belief Paperback – 14 May 2009
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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 producer of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People.)
SuperSense is a terrifically fun read. (Marc Hauser, Harvard College Professor, author of Moral Minds.)
Reading SuperSense is like having lunch with your favourite 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, New York Times bestselling author of Sway.)
SuperSense is sensational. The book is that rare combination of scientifically powerful yet accessible to the non-expert. A delightfully witty and thought-provoking look at what makes us human. (Susan A. Gelman, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan)
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 and readable book, and one of the best books on the subject of why everyone sometimes believes weird things. (Fortean Times)
A fascinating and engaging examination of why we believe in the supernatural.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I, as someone really interested in studying superstition, was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by C. L. Heffer
I love this author- well written book that can enrich the knowledge and open the mind of people who are already open to new perspectives and ideas. Definetely worth readingPublished 11 months ago by Christiana
An interesting book, full of insight and contradictions. I couldn't put it down.Published 13 months ago by Camgirl
Bruce Hood makes a case for why we believe things that are "rationally" false and concludes that it is in our nature to make these connections because that is how we make... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Rich J Wilson
OK, but, not compelling. In fairness, not too expensive, either. Not a life-changing read. I shall have another look at it to confirm my prejudices.Published on 8 Dec. 2013 by Lot46ply
Like Richard Dawkins, Hood is a leading scientist and a sceptic, but there the resemblance ends. While Dawkins sees religious belief as an aberration, Hood explains how our brains... Read morePublished on 19 Oct. 2013 by GeordieReader
as some other books in this religious bash group but very interesting to hear how the brain works. well done bucePublished on 15 Oct. 2013 by regalgnome