Believing

Believing

The Neuroscience of Fantasies, Fears, and Convictions

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.
A new book about brain chemistry, neural systems, and the formation of beliefs from the scientist who brought to light serotonin's many crucial roles in human behavior.
     
Beliefs: What are they? How have evolution and culture led to a brain that is seemingly committed to near endless belief creation? And once established, why are most beliefs so difficult to change? Believing offers answers to these questions from the perspective of a leading neuroscientist and expert in brain-behavior research. 

     Combining personal anecdotes and the latest research, Dr. McGuire takes the novel approach of focusing on the central and critical role of brain systems and the ways in which they interact with the environment to create and maintain beliefs. This approach yields some surprising and counterintuitive conclusions:

   • The brain is designed for belief creation and acceptance.
   • It is biased in favor of its own beliefs and is highly insensitive to disconfirming evidence. 
   • It prefers beliefs that are pleasurable and rewarding to those that are unfavorable.
   • Beliefs are "afterthoughts" of unperceived brain activities; they don't cause behavior. 
   • Our consciousness has minimal influence on the neural systems that create beliefs.

Based on these observations, McGuire concludes that for the foreseeable future people will continue to hold a multitude of beliefs, many of them intransigent.

Book News
McGuire, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UCLA uses everyday vignettes and stories from his own research on monkeys to illustrate the latest biological and psychological research on how people form and maintain beliefs. He is especially interested in religious and philosophical considerations and why we cling to false beliefs even when proven wrong. McGuire has written other books on science for general readers. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Amherst, New York : Prometheus Books, 2013
ISBN: 9781616148294
1616148292
Branch Call Number: 153.4 MCGUIRE
Characteristics: 267 pages ; 23 cm

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