Sunday, April 24

Bruce Hood: Supersense

From the back of the book-

Do you cross your fingers, touch wood or avoid walking under ladders? If someone offered to replace your old teddy bear with an exact replica, would you accept?
Where do such feelings come from? It seems that human brains have to make sense of the world somehow, and that need to find an explanation can lead our minds beyond reason and into the supernatural. Education tells us such thinking is irrational, but at an intuitive level it can stubbornly persist in otherwise sensible adults. Barack Obama played basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary-and on the morning of every following primary. This is not all bad-these beliefs can be a useful glue that binds us together as a society. And creative types rely upon the ability to see patterns in the world.
Combining brilliant insight with witty example, Bruce Hood weaves a page-turning account of our 'supersense', navigating a path through brain science, child development, popular culture, mental illness and the paranormal.
This is an outright fascinating read. Tracing links between biology, psychology and childhood development, the author presents an interesting argument as to how it can be perfectly reasonable to develop irrational beliefs.
As the subtitle, From Superstition to Religion-the Brain Science of Belief, suggests, this book runs the gamut of supernatural beliefs from the fringe to the institutionalized. All are examined with the same level of logic and though the writing veers into philosophy never does the text become inaccessible to the average reader
Whether you've an interest in why people persist in believing in aliens or ghosts or if you're just interested in the origins of lucky charms, this book may have the answers you seek.-Lynn

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