The Believing Brain

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

Michael Shermer

St. Martin's Griffin

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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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THE BELIEVING BRAIN by Michael Shermer | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE BELIEVING BRAIN From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies--How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. <em>Skeptic<em> magazine founding publisher Shermer (<em>The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics<em>, 2007, etc.) writes entertainingly about the scientific basis of belief.
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About the Author

Michael Shermer

MICHAEL SHERMER is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, and eight other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.

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Available Formats and Book Details

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

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
August 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250008800
ISBN10: 1250008808
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 400 pages
$15.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
May 2011
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805091250
ISBN10: 0805091254
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 400 pages, more than thirty black-and-white illustrations throughout
$28.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
May 2011
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429972611
ISBN10: 1429972610
400 pages, Includes more than thirty black-and-white illustrations throughout
$9.99
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