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psychology
The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life
 
 
Author
Jesse Bering.
Publisher Norton  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780393072990
Pages/Publication Date 252/2011
Daedalus Item Code 23871
List Price: $26.95
Sale Price: $3.98
You Save: $22.97
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Why is belief so hard to shake? Despite our attempts to embrace rational thought and reject superstition, we often find ourselves appealing to unseen forces that guide our destiny, wondering who might be watching us as we go about our lives, and imagining what might come after death. In a "balanced and considered approach to this often inflammatory topic" (Nature), cognitive psychologist Jesse Bering unveils the underpinnings of our impulse to believe, including our search for a predestined life purpose, our desire to read divine messages into natural disasters and other random occurrences, and our curiosity about how moral and immoral behavior are rewarded. Bering traces all of these beliefs and desires to a single trait of human psychology, known as the "theory of mind," which enables us to guess at the intentions and thoughts of others. He then takes this groundbreaking argument one step further, revealing how the instinct to believe in God and other unknowable forces gave early humans an evolutionary advantage.

"Jesse Bering is a brilliant young psychologist, a gifted storyteller, a careful reader of Jean-Paul Sartre, and a very funny man. And his first book, The Belief Instinct, is a triumph—a moving, provocative, and entertaining exploration of the human search for meaning."—Paul Bloom

 
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