"Psychology of the Paranormal Email Network"
Subject: Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub, next Tuesday evening (3 April)
Date: March 27th 2012
I'll be doing a talk for Nottingham SitP next Tuesday, 3 April, at 7:30 pm. This one has only been given a couple of times before in the UK (but does, needless to say, include backwards satanic messages!).
Full details at: http://bit.ly/ycW1xA
Title: Meaning and Randomness: On Seeing Things That Are Not There
Summary: One of the greatest strengths of the human species from an evolutionary perspective is our ability to perceive meaningful patterns and cause and effect relationships in our surroundings. Our cognitive systems have evolved to allow us to make relatively quick decisions that are right most of the time as opposed to slower, more reflective, decisions that are right slightly more often. In terms of the evolutionary cost-benefit analysis, our cognitive systems are optimised for biological survival not for apprehending âTruthâ. One consequence of our evolutionary history is that we are prone to a number of cognitive biases that may well underlie our predisposition towards supernatural and paranormal beliefs. Because we are poor at recognising randomness and often see meaning and significance where there is none, it is not surprising that such beliefs are so prevalent and persistent.
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