SuperSense and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.99
  • Save: $5.69 (22%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 25? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Above average used book. Immediately ships direct from Amazon.com. Item eligible for PRIME & SUPER SAVER SHIPPING, with world-class customer support.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable Hardcover – April 7, 2009


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, April 7, 2009
$20.30
$5.41 $0.01 $2.95
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.74 $0.75
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$45.00

Frequently Bought Together

SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable + The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity + Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Price for all three: $58.42

Buy the selected items together

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


100 M&T
100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime
Looking for something good to read? Browse our picks for 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, brought to you by the Amazon Book Editors.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061452645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452642
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A handful of recent books disparaging religion by atheists such as Richard Dawkins have largely put the blame on culture for humanity’s widespread unscientific beliefs. Yet what if the greatest influence on our supernatural convictions is the built-in wiring of our brains? Hood is an internationally renowned neuroscientist who has developed a revolutionary new theory to explain why, in the face of dubious evidence, humans so readily put their faith in supernatural forces. Dubbed supersense, Hood’s theory traces religious inclinations to how the brain processes information: a hardwired tool kit for making sense of the world that begins in childhood. In 10 engaging and informative chapters with titles like “Could You Wear a Killer’s Cardigan?” and “Would You Let Your Wife Sleep with Robert Redford?” Hood lays out the evidence for the mind’s penchant for seeing patterns in disconnected events and cultivating sacred values that bind humans together. Hood’s treatise provides a much-needed counterbalance to hard-core skeptics by arguing that supersense, while not exactly grounded in rationality, ultimately gives our lives meaning. --Carl Hays

Review

In an account chock full of real-world examples reinforced by experimental research, Hood’s marvelous book is an important contribution to the psychological literature that is revealing the actuality of our very irrational human nature. (Science)

[A] fascinating, timely and important book. . . . Hood’s presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging. (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, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought)

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, New York Times bestselling author of Sway)

In recent years, 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--beautifully written, deeply clever and funny, replete with brilliant insights and observations. (Paul BloomProfessor, Department of Psychology, Yale University Author of "Descartes' Baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human")

Dr. Hood, a world-class scholar in the field of cognitive science, explains the many weird and wonderful ways that we humans naturally view the world as ruled by supernatural phenomena. Bruce Hood’s SuperSense is sensational. (Susan A. GelmanSusan A. GelmanSusan A. Gelman, author of The Essential Child)

Read this beautifully written book, and you will lose some childhood innocence about how the world works. But, it will leave you wiser about yourself, and what it is to be human. (Guy Claxton, author of Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less)

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: Travels in Neuropsychology)

A compelling account of how beliefs in the supernatural world spring from the natural way our minds make sense of our experiences. (Daniel M. Wegner, Harvard Professor of Psychology, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will)

If we understood our own irrationality, and why so many people believe in ghosts, spirits, and invisible powers, then we might be able to improve the way we think. With quirkily fun examples and fascinating experiments Bruce Hood explains why we can’t always escape our Supersense. (Dr. Susan Blackmore, author of Conversations on Consciousness)

Supersense is a terrifically fun read. But it is much more: though we may forever believe in ghosts, goblins and the beneficent deities, with a dose of skeptical scientific realism, a la Hood, there is hope that sanity will prevail. (Marc Hauser, Harvard College Professor, author of Moral Minds)

“...a fun and illuminating book.” (Newsweek)

“Hood’s treatise provides a much-needed counterbalance to hardcore skeptics by arguing that supersense, while not exactly grounded in rationality, ultimately gives our lives meaning.” (Booklist)

Related Media


Customer Reviews

If you like the book's description you'll get what your looking for in this read.
A. Kintner
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.
P. S. Braterman
It's something I've wondering about for a while and feels good to just know that there is a science behind it.
Moze

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Pod Black on April 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bruce M. Hood's SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable is the kind of book that is excellent for those after a thorough overview on superstitious belief or an enjoyable dip into issues and ideas like creationism, essentialism, dualism, intuitive reasoning and its limitations and so forth - and yet not feel as if they're slogging through a academic tome (there's just too much personality for it to be that dry... which may be the only criticism that I could raise if you expected this to be a book of just straight facts and references).

"This book is not meant to make you feel foolish or to encourage you to abandon your supersense [which, as Hood defines it, are naturally occurring irrational beliefs that are a by-product of human development]. Many facets of our behaviour and beliefs have no rational basis. Think of everything that makes us human, and you soon realize that there is much that calls into question our ability to be rational. Love, jealousy, humor and obsession, for instance, are all present in all of us, and even though we know that our beliefs and actions stemming from them can be unbalanced, we would still not want to lose our capacity to experience them. The same can be said for the supersense. So embrace it, learn where it comes from, and understand why it refuses to go away. Oh, and if you are a skeptic reading this book, thanks for getting this far". [page 36].

That last part is appears to be more addressed to readers who suit what Dr Caroline Watt (co-author of '
...Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By SkeptiKitty on April 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"I can believe anything provided it is incredible." - Oscar Wilde

I have always been fascinated by the things that people believe especially when faced with rational explanations that make belief an exercise in the suspension of disbelief. When I am feeling particularly smarmy about the fact that I am a skeptical and rational creature who thinks critically, I remind myself that as I sit down to write anything of import, I always pull out my *lucky* fountain pen.

I ordered this book long before it was available because I enjoyed reading Bruce Hood's blog and was thrilled when it was finally published. The book was well worth the wait - it is a great read that makes a serious subject very approachable.

There is all manner of research showing how we believe including some fairly interesting research by NIMH, and while some would argue that learning the mechanism is the first step towards abolishing belief, I think that there is something to be said for having our lucky pens.

Bruce's book presents us with the whys, wherefores and need for beliefs that would on the surface appear to contradict the serious need for critical thinking.

I didn't agree with everything... but I am going to give it a place of honor on my favorite bookshelf between "Breaking the Spell" and "Why People Believe Weird Things".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By T. Megginson on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable

I read a lot of popular evolutionary psychology, anthropology, history, and related books by people like Steven Pinker, Geoffrey Miller, Matt Ridley, Bryan Sykes, Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins. If you're into these authors too, then this book is for you.

Hood's overview of the research behind our natural inclination towards superstition is well-written and easy to digest. He starts by pointing out that even the most intellectual among us has to contend with irrational fears and mystical beliefs -- the example being how most of his students will refuse to wear a sweater he tells them was once worn by a serial killer.

What I really liked about this book was Hood's position that we will never remove superstition from our lives, that it's just as much of a hard-wired instinct as language or pattern recognition. He takes a much more moderate stand on religion that Dawkins, who believes raising a kid with supernatural beliefs is intellectually abusive. Instead, Hood is one of those scientists who accepts that the best we can do is to better understand our irrational impulses and thereby improve the way we deal with them.

If you're a human nature geek like me, then put this book on your summer reading list. It's conversational and witty, with just enough new information to make it all worthwhile.

Hood is also a pretty accessible guy. I made a comment on his blog at [...] , and he got right back to me.

So here's your review, Bruce, as promised!
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By CarolynB on April 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I live with a black cat and pass a battlefield, a haunted cemetery, a haunted hotel, and two haunted houses on my way to and from work without a second thought, so I like to think that I am not superstitious... but I also haven't put on a favorite blouse since I wore it when I had a bad car accident last year. It isn't that I think the blouse is bad luck but... well, no need to take chances... and besides, I can blame it all on my "supersense." "Supersense" is the tendency to "believe the unbelievable," or scientifically unprovable. Dr. Hood shows how our brains and minds are innately designed for such beliefs and that they begin very early in life. I have read, and fallen asleep reading, many cognitive science books, but I didn't fall asleep reading this one. In fact, I read this one all in one day because it is a real page-turner full of interesting insights as well as stories of bizarre and entertaining behavior. I was also fascinated by the information about how thinking in children develops and I hope that perhaps one day Dr. Hood will devote an entire book to his and others' findings on this topic. Dr. Hood finishes the book by explaining that while "supersense" may not be rational, it is, in some ways, necessary for creating the sacred values and connections that bind people into functioning communities and societies. So, whether you are interested in cognitive science, the paranormal, child development, weird and wild human behavior, or religion and spirituality, "Supersense" is highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xaa0fb6d8)