Why We Believe in the Unbelievable

Book - 2009
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"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

In the vein of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, Mary Roach's Spook, and Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, The Science of Superstition uses hard science to explain pervasive irrational beliefs and behaviors: from the superstitious rituals of sports stars, to the depreciated value of houses where murders were committed, to the adoration of Elvis.

Publisher: New York : HarperOne, c2009.
ISBN: 9780061452642
Characteristics: xvii, 302 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: Super sense.


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multcolib_central Jul 10, 2014

What is one's "super-sense" ? The author contends that it's the tendency to believe the unbelievable. Hood asserts that our brain are wired to make sense of the world in childhood. He lays out his argument in an easy-to-read by science-y tone that's great for the layman.

roaddogg09 Jun 03, 2012

I started reading Hood's book after picking up Jesse Bering's, "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life." Bering also deals with supernatural beliefs and how these are naturally formed by our minds. Having read Bering, and seeing good reviews about Hood's book, I picked it up.

First, the positives: Hood does a fantastic job of explaining how people from childhood to adulthood form supernatural beliefs, both religious and secular. As Hood explains, these come from our 'mind design.' Without it, our species would not have survived. Going over many examples and citing research, Hood makes a compelling case that supernatural reasoning and beliefs are not going to go away anytime soon, and that some are even beneficial.

Now, the negative. Having been written by a psychologist, I expected much more discussion about specific brain areas associated with these types of beliefs and how these change over time. Maybe it's due to the intended audience, but I still expected a bit more brain-talk.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It's well-written and holds your attention. I found myself turning the page to see what interesting little fact Hood would reveal.

Nov 22, 2011

Supersense by Bruce M. Hood.
Intrigued by the art work on the front cover of this book by Bruce Hood I decided this book was worth a look. What a disappointment (at least for me). I gave it three different stabs and found that this book had nothing to tell me. But then that could be just me.
In passing I found that this book didn’t seem to sit right on the page. The type-face and the line spacing just seemed to be all wrong. Was there too much space between the lines?
And the paragraphing. The indentations seemed to be too brief. There isn’t enough white space to set the paragraphs apart.
Picky complaints? Perhaps. But the overall impression was one of disorganization. Just a thought though.
For me, this was a send-it-back book. You may find it interesting. I was disappointed.

Oct 11, 2011

I personally loved this book. You should really read it.

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