Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
HarperOne, 9780061452642, 320pp.
Publication Date: April 7, 2009
“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.
About the Author
BRUCE HOOD is the author of The Science of Superstition and is one of the leading international authorities on child development and supernatural thinking in adults. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has been a faculty member at UCL and Harvard and was a visiting scientist at MIT. He is currently the chair of developmental psychology at Bristol University in England and director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Bristol, England.
Praise For SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable…
[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 Bloom Professor, 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. Gelman Susan A. Gelman Susan 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.”
“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.”