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Bruce Hood

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The world is full of input that is ambiguous or just missing. Often the only way to sort it out is to guess.

We find it very difficult to accept that things happen by chance. We want order and causes. So we infer causes where there may be none, and we tend to link events may not even be slightly related.

Superstitious rituals are based on supernatural beliefs, but main pt is that they work: they reduce stress caused by uncertainty, and they give a sense of control.

Most people have non-rel superstitious beliefs - eg they won't wear a sweater that a murderer wore, even though dry cleaned. Out automatic 'disgust' response kicks in before rational thought. out rational brain comes along afterwards to rationalize what our reptile brain has already decided.

Science has eliminated fairyland - no-one believes in goblins, elves, leprechauns or fairies.

Almost everyone has a phobia of snakes - even in NZ, where generations have grown up never seeing one. Evo has favoured those with a predisposition to be wary of snakes.

Every culture has a creation myth. We want explanations for the world, and, absent of science, every culture invents magic beings - men with super-human powers. Evo is non-intuitive. Little kids think the Sun follows them around to keep them warm. Takes an effort to believe that it's actually an inanimate nuclear explosion.

7 yos believe everything has a purpose - a hill is made to roll down, rather than the hill being there for another reason, and is available for kids to roll down.

John Lennon's piano taken on a world tour. Everyone claimed they felt something when they sat down to play it.

babies tested for defence mechs by being poked with a broom handle. 90% made no effort at all to defend themselves. The other 10% shat themselves.

Even rationalists - give them a contract to sell their soul for real money - only 1 in 5 will actually sign contract, even when it says it's not legally binding.

Ask people if they believe in supernatural, and most will deny. But if you rephrase to say "Do you believe that there are mysterious forces in nature that science cannot explain" almost everyone>
Difference between faces is very small in terms of measurements. But we distinguish between, and remember, 1000's. And this is all done in a tiny part of the brain called fusiform gyrus. If this is damaged, can't even recognize own face in mirror.

If a patient with dementia goes to Heaven, what condition are they in?

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