45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SuperSense - Unbelievably Useful And Awesome!
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...
Published on April 15, 2009 by Pod Black
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview for the Uninitiated
I picked up "Supersense" to add to my library of books on irrational beliefs, how the mind works and consciousness. Roughly the first half of the book is spent going over material that will be familiar to anyone who's already acquainted with these topics and has read the requisite authors - Kahneman and Tversky, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Lewis Wolpert, Dan Ariely,...
Published on December 30, 2009 by N. Ketter
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SuperSense - Unbelievably Useful And Awesome!,
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 'An Introduction to Parapsychology') discussed in a Skeptic Zone interview as a 'counter-advocate' to what could possibly be paranormal or supernatural events. The open-mindedness that skeptics pride themselves upon is most definitely being called upon in this book. If one does take on the book's thesis that this is a 'natural consequence' that results in 'shared sacred values' that may not draw upon rational behaviour - then one has to recognise that the counter-advocate stance needs to be abandoned. This makes it a book that will most definitely make the hard-core 'atheist equals skepticism' sorts blanch - but hopefully not deter them from getting the cultural and social education that Hood proffers (and one I personally think is much needed in terms of opening up dialogue and common ground regarding goals like human rights and consumer protection, et al).
Whilst keen readers (and researchers) on the topic of belief in the supernatural may have noticed that Robert L Park's 'Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science' was printed late last year, I would say Hood's SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable delves into current practices with an eager attitude and is plainly more extensive for essentially a similar price (nearly a hundred pages more in Supersense?). Maybe it's my judgment of the construction of a UK as opposed to a US text (although references within Supersense draw on international examples too), but as an Australian, I was more 'at ease' with Hood's overall tone and approach to anomalistic psychology. As researcher who is familiar with the likes of Stuart A. Vyse's seminal work 'Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition' and the perennially popular text by Michael Shermer, 'Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time', I would say that this is really more akin to Vyse's work with a straight-forward, confident approach that reminded me of Dr Ben Goldacre's extremely accessible Bad Science.
Although Park's 'Superstition', Shermer's 'Weird Things' and Hood's 'Supersense' all feature personal narrative flavoring the scientific references, 'Supersense' draws upon more recent news items and pop-culture references, along with the required historical background to 'why we believe as we do'. That's something Shermer, despite the re-release of 'Weird Things', hasn't really incorporated to a detailed extent. 'Supersense' also features a thorough index and footnotes that serve more than well enough for checking the source of quotes and examples. I should also point out that the breakdown of chapters, structured with subheadings and occasional photos (the chirpy-looking author standing outside a 'Bric-a-Brac' store, used to illustrate a rather poignant tale about the lure of 'collectibles') creates a lively mixture of academic prose and anecdotal examples. I wish more books drew upon these strengths when structuring a text on what can be a rather heavy psychology investigation.
It's a book that nods to the likes of Dr Richard Wiseman's Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things and yet has a far more philosophical message about acknowledging the pervasive but not necessarily 'requires windmill-tilting' superstitious beliefs prevalent across cultures, ages and creeds. Highly recommended if you're sick of trying to figure out how to politely settle some of the more garrulous distractions of the fundamentalist 'counter-advocate' sort.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Critical Thinking Meets The Lucky Fountain Pen,
"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".
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pop-science summer read,
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!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, Entertaining, Insightful,
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I probably wouldn't wear the sweater either.,
Like many of you who are reading this, I can't throw books away. Even thinking about it makes me uncomfortable, so there is no way I could possibly hold a book over a garbage can and just let it drop. Ugh.
I don't know why this should be, to be honest. I mean, they're just books, right? Paper and ink that anyone can buy. And not even special books - first edition, autor-signed, given to me by my beloved grandmother on her deathbed. I would be hard-pressed to throw away even bad books. Mein Kampf, Dianetics, A Series of Unfortunate Events - I would save even these from the trashpile. Not because they're worth reading, but because they're books.
I'm not a squishy, sentimental man, either. I can tell dead baby jokes without flinching. I've participated in the burning of an American Flag. I've flipped off the White House (it was the Bush era - I couldn't NOT flip it off), and if you give me a photo of the Pope, I'm pretty sure I can tear it up on live TV.
So what is it about these mass-produced blocks of paper that instills in me such reverence? This question is part of what Bruce Hood discusses in his book Supersense, appropriately subtitled, "Why we believe in the unbelievable."
Hood is a psychologist by trade, and this book is an investigation into why we persistently believe in things for which we have no evidence. This can range from religious adherence and the firm belief in things like "holiness" and "sinfulness" all the way to haunted houses, superstitious behavior, and the belief that evil acts can somehow "taint" a physical object. In one demonstration that he refers to throughout the book, Hood offers a cardigan to his audience. It's a nice enough sweater, perhaps a little out of date, but clean and it looks comfortable. It's the kind of cardigan you might wear on a chilly autumn evening and think nothing of it.
Then Hood tells the audience that the sweater belonged to Fred West. For those of us who are not from England, Fred West is one of the most notorious serial killers of the last century. Over a span of twenty years, he and his wife tortured, raped and murdered at least twelve girls, two of whom were their own daughters. They're very well-known in England, and as soon as people found out that the nice comfortable cardigan had belonged to Fred West, no one wanted to touch it, much less put it on. Even though there's no rational basis to believe so, many people believed that there was some kind of contamination linked to the sweater, and feared that Fred West's evil would somehow transfer to them.
As someone who tries to be rational as much as possible, I have found myself wondering why I hold on to beliefs that I know are fundamentally irrational. I wonder it even more when I watch the news or surf the internet and see how many people believe in things like "healing energy," homeopathy, guardian angels, magic spells and the like. "What century are we living in?" I ask myself as I curl up into a ball and weep. The Enlightenment was only two hundred years ago - why are we backsliding?
Thinkers and scientists such as Richard Dawkins believe that this kind of fundamental irrationality is a learned trait. Parents pass it on to children, who then pass it on to theirs. Dawkins even goes so far as to consider bringing your child to church to be "child abuse," and believe that if only we can break the chain of superstition, a new Age of Reason will emerge.
Hood disagrees, and he makes a pretty compelling case. He doesn't argue for the existence of the supernatural at all in this book, but rather the sense of the supernatural - the Supersense, as he calls it. This is the feeling that someone is watching us, the belief that one object is somehow more "special" than another, identical object. It is the reason we plead with our computers when they don't work, why we anthropomorphise so many things is our world, and why we revere the remains of saints and shun the sweaters of murderers. It is a sense that there should be a supernatural world out there, even if we can't prove it.
Hood believes that the origin of this supersense is in the way our early minds develop as infants. In that very early stage of life, we try to make sense of the world as best we can. Babies are little scientists, testing reality against their observations again and again, and coming up with hypotheses about how the world should work. This need to understand the world is hard-wired into our brains as part of our "mind design," and not only can we never get rid of it, it may be essential to our development into fully-formed human beings.
By testing children and how they observe the world, Hood tries to see how the mind develops from birth onwards, without the years of cultural indoctrination that Dawkins and those of similar opinion decry. These tests show how children expect reality to behave, and what happens when their expectations don't match their observations. He looks at how children imbue the world with life and purpose - the Sun, always smiling in children's drawings, exists to give us light, trees to shade us and the grass is there for us to play on. This endowment of purpose, or telos, if we're going to be philosophical and pompous, is something we continue to do even into adulthood.
The more we learn about the world, the more we find out that it doesn't follow the common-sense rules that we laid down in our infancy. It's hard to accept, for example, that we aren't the end product of evolution - even worse, evolution has no end product in mind. What's more, after our brains went through years and years of classifying the world into neat little categories such as "living/non-living; intelligent/non-intelligent; plant/animal," it's jarring to know that we're only 5% of the way off from chimpanzees and 50% off from being bananas!
Children intuit the world as they grow, and that is part of the mind-building process. This is the architecture of our minds. More often than not, it produces a rational picture of the world and how it works, but not always - the trade-off is that some supernatural ideas come along for the ride. While the mind-building process does prepare us to exist in the greater world, it also makes us fundamentally irrational beings. Some people are more able to overcome this irrationality than others, but even the hard-core skeptics may find it difficult to put on the sweater of Fred West, or have trouble not smiling when they're in the presence of the sweater of Fred Rogers.
In a way, this book was both a disappointment and a relief. I have always hoped that one day humanity would rise above its irrationality and start appreciating the world for what it is, instead of wasting time looking for things that just aren't there. But if Hood's hypothesis is correct, that's never going to happen. As long as we are human, there will always be a streak of the irrational in us. Try as we might, we will always have superstitions, strange beliefs, and we will always be looking for things that we cannot see.
And of course, perhaps this is a good thing. This irrationality is what gives us passion, it's what connects us together as a species and as societies. This belief in the sacred, for example, is what gives rise to shared values in a community and a shared sense of what is important and what is forbidden. Without it, we'd be a species of Lex Luthors - fundamentally selfish, sociopathic and without the ability to connect to others.
On a personal note, it means that maybe I don't have to be so hard on myself. I mean, being rational is great and all, but when you get to the point where you find yourself thinking something like, "Yeah, what is the big deal about incest?" then you know that it's time to give the prefrontal cortex a break. And instead of beating myself up for not being able to completely disavow all the goofy little supernatural things that I cling to, perhaps I can just accept them as part of what makes me who I am. I know there's nothing truly special about my books, but the supersense tells me otherwise. It may not be right, but at least it gives my life a little more color.
"If it's true that our beliefs can be supernatural but unconnected to religion, then it must also be true that humans will not necessarily evolve into a rational species, because a mind designed for generating natural explanations also generates supernatural ones."
- Bruce Hood, Supersense
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book on offtrail beliefs,
This is one of a large number of books using recent psychological findings to explain persistent but wrong beliefs (often called by pejorative terms like "superstition").
What sets this one apart, beside the fact that it is delightfully written and thoroughly fun to read, is that it is relatively fair and nondismissive, and that it incorporates the author's important work on children. He goes into really interesting detail on children's knowledge of the world. They (we) are born with an astonishing amount of cognitive equipment, including extreme sensitivity to faces, sounds, and motions--the "tabula rasa" idea is long dead. They (we) then develop along lines predictable from genetically guided tendencies: all but the most severely damaged children learn language with incredible ease; all learn to recognize animals and other moving things with almost equal ease; all make pretty much the same oversimplifying mistakes in inferring how the world works.
Often, such mis-inference carries over into adulthood. The most important mis-inferences we make are essentializing--believing that, for instance, a murderer's sweater has evil essence in it--and assuming active, wilful agency in all events unless proven otherwise. The latter causes most belief in supernatural beings (spirits, gods, etc.).
Hood does not escape the problems of this general class of literature. First, though he pays some attention to the social and cultural side, he still explains belief as if it were basically an individual thing caused by natural individual mistakes. This doesn't even begin to account for socially constructed belief systems, like religion or astrology. Second, he has trouble bounding the set. Why do these books always drag in ghosts and telepathy but never bring in racism, a far more dangerous and ridiculous belief? These books also tend to confuse beliefs that are truly against all reasonable common sense, like the beliefs about the murderer's sweater, with beliefs that are on the face of them very reasonable. Consider astrology: we know the sun and the moon influence life here on earth, so ancient people plausibly reasoned that the stars must have smaller and subtler but equally real effects. It took a lot of proving to show that this sensible conclusion was wrong. From another angle, consider telepathy: most people can easily, accurately, and quite unconsciously infer others' feelings and attitudes from just talking to them for a few minutes. Before the discovery of mirror cells and other specialized social-inference systems in the brain, this was a genuinely "supernatural" ability--there was simply no known explanation for it. Oddly, Hood does not talk about mirror cells in his discussion of telepathy. Almost everyone knows that genuine mind-reading doesn't happen (think how embarrassing it would be for us males--we'd get slapped a lot), but everyone also knows about social intuition, and no one could explain it till very recently.
This is a fine book and deserves to be read, but I hope the next writers in this genre look seriously at how some wrong beliefs get so widely established and accepted, and even taken as religious truth, while others remain "mere superstition" and still others die out totally.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview for the Uninitiated,
This review is from: SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable (Hardcover)
I picked up "Supersense" to add to my library of books on irrational beliefs, how the mind works and consciousness. Roughly the first half of the book is spent going over material that will be familiar to anyone who's already acquainted with these topics and has read the requisite authors - Kahneman and Tversky, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Lewis Wolpert, Dan Ariely, Marco Iacoboni, Richard Dawkins to name a few. What was new, and most enjoyable, to me was the look at repugnance and disgust and why certain groups of people find particular things abhorrent and others don't. However this same aspect of the book also seems to contradict the authors conclusion which is that we develop this "super sense" as a means of putting the world into some kind of order and, given that, it's unlikely we'll ever rid ourselves of it, since it's key to our functioning as social animals.
It seems to me that the history of modern civilization could be described as a slow but steady whittling away of supernatural beliefs. e.g. we no longer believe in MOST of the gods that at one point enjoyed our worship. We no longer believe in witchcraft, the evil eye, astrology, alchemy and people claiming to be psychics. We no longer flinch at the thought of women voting, pursuing professional careers or public office. We no longer find it abhorrent for couples of different races to marry and have children. We appear to be on a trajectory where acceptance of homosexuals will eventually become the norm. All of these things were at one time considered repugnant and that repugnance could be traced to what the author posits is our "super sense". But it begs the question that if we were able to overcome these particular irrational symptoms of our "super sense" then why shouldn't we expect to overcome other things we are repulsed by for seemingly no good reason. e.g. stem cell research, human genetic engineering and GMOs.
I struggled mildly with whether to rate this two or three stars (also, full disclosure, this is my first Amazon review). I could argue for two stars because I was disappointed that much of the material was not new. However to someone who doesn't have the background this is a very good survey of the existing literature on cognitive science as it relates to how we behave as social creatures. So, if you're interested in the topic and haven't read much or any of the authors listed above then it's worth picking up.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Stimulating and Enjoyable Reading,
As a clinical psychologist, I am always amazed when an author can turn me on to scientific research that I am already familiar with. Hood pulls no punches with this book in his attempt to explain why human beings have a deeply ingrained tendency to develop supernatural beliefs. He weaves together childhood development, brain science, and ideas about human beings as cultural animals to explain why we cling to supernatural beliefs even when we know they aren't true.
There is much to like about this book. Hood has a gift for bringing scientific studies to life and sharing intriguing real-world examples to make his point. See "the haunted scrotum" in Chapter 5, the shocking autopsy of a top Olympic medal winning athlete from the 1930's in Chapter 6, and so on. He also does an impressive job of being relatively neutral about religion and other supernatural beliefs. By showing that it is part of human nature, he doesn't rally against religion rather he explains the value of being skeptical of the little 3-pound blob that often does weird things to try to make sense of the world.
My favorite parts of the book relate to how our beliefs change as a result of ingraining cultural beliefs and trying to satisfy our need to belong. The average person actually becomes more superstitious as they get older when you would think they become more rational.
On another note, I appreciate the fact that Hood is willing to use examples that cover the entire spectrum from the benevolent and beautiful to revolting horrors. Many scientists would shy away from some of his examples. To me, they were useful, memorable, and downright interesting.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read even for a hardened skeptic like me.,
I could never understand why normal, educated folks like myself could possibly believe in such strange things like ghosts, good luck charms, ESP, an afterlife, and a host of other supernatural events. For the first time EVER, I finally found someone who could explain such things in a reasonable, well thought out and at times, humorous way. And it is the most obvious of reasons, one that is right under our noses (literally!), a look at the world through a child's eyes and mind.
I enjoyed the book enough that I am doing a second read immediately after I just finished it. I cannot remember doing THAT in a long, long time!
If nothing else, it is a great conversational topic. My college going son and I spent a enjoyable trip back to school going through some of the topics where neither of us remember the driving part at all.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intellectual Treat,
This review is from: SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable (Hardcover)
SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable by Bruce M. Hood
"SuperSense" is the engaging, fascinating book about the origins of supernatural beliefs, why they are so common, and why they may be so difficult to get rid of. It's a popular science book that is a lot to fun to read and ultimately enlightening. Dr. Bruce Hood uses modern psychology, cognitive neuroscience and an entertaining prose to entertain the masses in this wonderful and at times enthralling read. This 320-page book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. What Secret Do John McEnroe and David Beckham Share?, 2. Could You Wear a Killer's Cardigan?, 3. Who Created Creationism?, 4. Blooming, Bussing Babies, 5. Mind Reading, 6. Freak Accidents, 7. Would You Willingly Receive a Heart Transplant from a Murderer?, 8. Why Do Traveling Salesman Sleep with Teddy Bears?, 9. The Biology of Belief, and 10. Would You Let Your Wife Sleep with Robert Redford?
1. Fascinating topic in the hands of a master storyteller.
2. Great popular science book that is a treat to read while educational at the same time. The author does a wonderful job of intermixing sound science with an interesting narrative, and a bit of humor too for good measure.
3. Thought-provoking questions and answers based on sound science.
4. Neuroscience and psychology made fun.
5. Supersense defined. Religion, paranormal activity, and wishful thinking; the three points on a continuum of supernatural thinking.
6. So many great examples and some bordering on the bizarre but always interesting. Hood "exposes a wide range of human beliefs and behavior that go beyond traditional notions of the supernatural".
7. Great quotes abound, "Supernatural beliefs are a product of natural thinking".
8. A lot of the studies depicted in this book have to do with child development and cognitive neuroscience, one of the author's areas of expertise.
9. So much wisdom in one book. "We either accept ideas or reject them, but seldom do we consider why".
10. One of the most compelling themes in this book is why it is easier for people to believe in the supernatural over natural explanations. Mind design and natural selection is our designer.
11. The beliefs behind superstitious practices. Vegas will never be the same.
12. Interesting looks at faulty reasoning. The reliance of unconscious inferences.
13. Interesting studies of the brain are found throughout this fascinating book. The things that make us human.
14. In defense of science..."the bedrock of our knowledge and wisdom". The difference between supernatural and scientific beliefs. The contrast between creationist and the scientific theory of evolution.
15. An absorbing look at religion, "All religions are based on supernatural beliefs, but not all supernatural beliefs are based on religion". The number one reason why people believe in the supernatural.
16. Evolution it does a species good.
17. Interesting look at how we generate beliefs. Many fascinating studies involving newborns and children.
18. Mind reading...theory of mind. The intentional stance. The chemicals involved oxytocin as an example. The illusion of free will and the soul. Great stuff!
19. Homeopathy the supernatural quackery to real medicine.
20. Bizarre beliefs a fascinating look.
21. Essential reasoning, psychological essentialism. So many great examples, some involving art.
22. Interesting look at bizarre disorders.
23. The biology of belief. Common supersenses like the sense of being stared at. Confirmation bias.
24. Neurotransmitter systems.
25. The future of supernatural beliefs.
1. Links did not work.
2. This book will cause cognitive dissonance to most likely theists.
3. Having to buy extra copies for relatives and friends.
In summary, I really enjoyed this book. There are certain books I connect better than others and this is one of them. A great mix of psychology, neuroscience, evolution and fascinating cases that makes this book a joy to read. This is an excellent popular science book that addresses supernatural beliefs and it did so to my satisfaction. I highly recommend it!
Further suggestions: "Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior" by by Leonard Mlodinow, "Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization" by Stephen Cave, "The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths" by Michael Shermer, "The Scientific American Brave New Brain: How Neuroscience, Brain-Machine Interfaces, Neuroimaging, Psychopharmacology, Epigenetics, the Internet, and ... and Enhancing the Future of Mental Power" by Judith Horstman, "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature" by Steven Pinker, "Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain?" and "Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique", by Michael S. Gazzaniga, "Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality" by Laurence Tancredi, "Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality" by Patricia S. Churchland, "Paranormality" by Richard Wiseman, "The Myth of Free Will, Revised & Expanded Edition" by Cris Evatt, and "The Brain and the Meaning of Life" by Paul Thagard.
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SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable by Bruce M. Hood (Hardcover - April 7, 2009)
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