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Bruce Hood

University of Bristol
Department of Experimental Psychology

Supernatural Belief: Me or Memes?

Monday, March 15, 2010
Science I 149, 5:00 PM

Abstract

Where do we get our supernatural beliefs from? And why do some seem more plausible than others? Are we simply just gullible meme-machines or is there some intrinsic origin for the unbelievable? In this talk, I’ll exam an idea that as part of our natural reasoning, humans will always generate misconceptions that could easily be fertile ground for believing in the supernatural. Maybe culture simply mirrors and resonates with what we individually believe or would like to believe as a group.

Biography

Professor Bruce Hood is currently the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. He has been awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in neuroscience, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Infancy Researchers, the Robert Fantz memorial award and was recently voted to Fellowship status by the society of American Psychological Science. He currently holds grants from the Leverhulme Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council to fund research into the origins of supernatural beliefs, the development of face and gaze processing, the development of inhibition and general cognitive development.

Readings

  1. The Intuitive Magician: Why Belief in the Supernatural Persists

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