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The Science of Superstition

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In The Science of Superstition, cognitive psychologist Bruce Hood examines the ways in which humans understand the supernatural, revealing what makes us believe in the unbelievable.

*Previously published as SuperSense.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published June 29th 2010)
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Mister
I'm certainly interested in the topic of the book - a cognitive scientist writing about how the biological structure and the early development of a child's brain gives us humans a propensity for believing in irrational things, but I really loathe the author's tunnel-vision in support of the idea. For example, he argues early in the book that people wouldn't wear a murderer's sweater because of a superstitious belief that they would be tainted by its evil (working from the same principle as a goo...more
Forrest
I’ve always enjoyed vigorous debate with those who don’t share my particular spiritual point of view. While none of the people I’ve had good conversations with have fit into the most extreme fundamentalist brackets, I have noticed that more evangelical Christians seem to enjoy a kind of thinking that is circular at best. I try not to just write these people off out of hand. Their experiences are unknown to me and there may be very good and rational explanations for their unshakable faith.

Well, i...more
Decedra
What a very interesting book on superstition. This book is about the natural "sense" we have that attributes supernatural elements to our lives despite all of our scientific advances. It comes from our incredible ability, our "supersense", in recognizing patterns and inferring cause and effect. We are so good at it that we attribute cause to an effect even when it doesn't really exist. This supersense is also what allows us to have more cohesive relationships, but we have to be careful, too, tha...more
Amber
I picked up this book because my sister checked it out from the library one week, and seeing a book titled "The Science of Superstition", I expected nothing less than science, sort of like a Discovery-channel type of thing, in this case a look into superstitions. What I got instead was highly opinionated philosophy presented in a very condescending, matter-of-fact attitude. I did not read the entire book, I'll admit, but I read from a few different chapters. The author's attitude rubbed me the w...more
Mia
I really liked the combination of curiosity, thoughtfulness and scientific approach, and the sense of openness to questions and possibilities. The evidence that irrational beliefs has little to do with intelligence, anddemonstration beliefs held by people who are not religious or superstitious was particularly useful. The one drawback occurs when the author seems to overreach in his speculations of why we believe things. Certain habits are treated as innate where they may actually be culturally...more
Nenia Campbell
You can read more of my reviews, faster, at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.


My dad is really interested in parapsychology and pseudoscience, so I thought this might make a nice Christmas present. However, I elected to read it first because he is super picky about the books that he reads and I wanted to make sure it wasn't stupid.



First off, I got this book mixed up with the similarly titled but infinitely more popular book by Michael Shermer,Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superst...more
Marc Resnick
As with many books in this genre, I was fascinated by many of the conclusions, but disappointed with how oversimplified the science is presented. But that is actually a plus, because I know for most people, simplified is a good thing.
Hayley Dunning
Somewhat jumbled, amicable but not epic.
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2996545
I was born in Toronto, Canada, and my middle name is MacFarlane. This a legacy of my Scottish heritage on my father's side. My mother is Australian and has the very unusual first name of Loyale. I used to believe for many years that she had two sisters called Hope and Faith, but that was just my fertile imagination. Why Toronto I hear you ask. My father was a journalist and plied his art on variou...more
More about Bruce M. Hood...
The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable The Origins of Object Knowledge

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“We can all talk to the dead. It’s getting them to talk back that’s the hard part.”2” 0 likes
“The brain creates both the mind and the body we experience. A physical thing creates the mental world we inhabit.” 0 likes
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