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

ISBN-10: 1250008808

ISBN-13: 9781250008800

Edition: N/A

Authors: Michael Shermer
List price: $20.50 Buy it from $5.19
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Description: Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian 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. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, accelerating the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop. In The Believing Brain, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. And ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our beliefs match reality.

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Book details

List price: $20.50
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 8/7/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Michael Shermer is the director of the Skeptics Society and the host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches science, technology, and evolutionary thought in the Cultural Studies Program at Occidental College.

Prologue: I Want to Believe
Journeys of Belief
Mr. D'Arpino's Dilemma
Dr. Collins's Conversion
A Skeptic�s Journey
The Biology of Belief
Patternicity
Agenticity
The Believing Neuron
Belief in Things Unseen
Belief in the Afterlife
Belief in God
Belief in Aliens
Belief in Conspiracies
Belief in Things Seen
Politics of Belief
Confirmations of Belief
Geographies of Belief
Cosmologies of Belief
Epilogue: The Truth Is Out There
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index
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