Save Big On Open-Box & Used Products: Buy "SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable” from Amazon Open-Box & Used and save 67% off the $25.99 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all offers from Amazon Open-Box & Used.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable Hardcover – April 7, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Featured resources for clinical rotations
Explore these titles for clinical rotations. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Special offers and product promotions
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
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)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
"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.
In Hood's words: "One of the main points I want to make in the book is that children naturally reason about the unseen aspects of their world, and doing so sometimes leads them to beliefs that forms the basis of later adult supernatural notions." Which leading him to say: "supernatural beliefs are a product of natural thinking." That's why this supersense is here with us all the time. If you don't believe me, think about crossing a dark corridor completely alone. Don't you feel "something" in your back? Perhaps that "somebody" is watching you, isn't it? In Supersense, Bruce Hood connects this ordinary and factual evidence with a clear and solid explanation that gives the book its notable value.
Thus, as long as the reading progresses you begin to discover that Hood is consistent insofar as he displays a whole battery of examples and anecdotes, some of them funny, some scary and some others... horrifying. He also touches the biological side of the problem, together with the evolutionary aspect and the necessity of our beliefs. In doing this, he explains why is so hard to get rid of the supernatural world that we keep inside us and why it could serve a purpose in our life.
As you can see, the book is not only interesting or entertained. More than that, the book is a guide to understand why a ghost or a spirit will persist as a presence forever. We bring them here and they are not going to disappear before we leave.
A five stars + will never disappoint you.