The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
  • The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
  • The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

3.9 27
by Michael Shermer
     
 

Bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished

In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form

See more details below

Overview

Bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished

In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.

Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805091250
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/24/2011
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
532,634
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: I Want to Believe 1

Part I Journeys of Belief

1 Mr. D'Arpino's Dilemma 11

2 Dr. Collins's Conversion 26

3 A Skeptic's Journey 37

Part II The Biology of Belief

4 Patternicity 59

5 Agenticity 87

6 The Believing Neuron 111

Part III Belief in Things Unseen

7 Belief in the Afterlife 141

8 Belief in God 164

9 Belief in Aliens 188

10 Belief in Conspiracies 207

Part IV Belief in Things Seen

11 Policts of Belief 231

12 Confirmations of Belief 256

13 Gepgraphies of Belief 280

14 Cosmologies of Belief 304

Epilogue: The Truth Is Out There 334

Notes 345

Acknowledgments 369

Index 373

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >