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Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It by Stephen Greenspan

By Stephen Greenspan

The 1st booklet to supply a accomplished examine the matter of gullibility, this groundbreaking paintings covers how and why we're fooled in components that variety from faith, politics, technology, and medication, to private finance and relationships. First laying the basis by way of displaying gullibility at play within the writings of ancient authors we know, developmental psychologist Stephen Greenspan follows with chapters that describe social duping around the gamut of human behavior. From those that pour greenbacks into funding scams, to those that persist with the religion of scientologists, think in fortunetellers, or champion unfounded drugs equivalent to snake oil, we know somebody who has been duped. loads of us were duped ourselves, out of naive belief. it is not an issue of low intelligence that strikes us to, with no proof, think the phrases of politicians, salesmen, lecturers, legal professionals, army figures, or cult leaders, between others. Greenspan indicates us the 4 extensive purposes we turn into drawn into gullible habit, and he provides methods humans can develop into much less gullible.Greenspan takes us into the mammoth realm of gullibility from the fictitious Pied Piper to the old malicious program, then via modern day army maneuvers, political untruths, police and legal justice scams, and monetary and love lies. whereas there were prior books interested by liars and manipulators of all types, this is often the 1st to target the gullible who're their sufferers, and the way the gullible can develop into much less prone to be taken back.

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61). He cited Bart Kosko’s (1993) book Fuzzy Thinking, to suggest that belief in God is analogous to what we do when we look at an optical illusion, such as the Kanizsa-square illusion, in which the mind fills in a square where all that is really on the page are four Pac-men turned at right angles. For Kosko, “God glimpses, or the feeling of God recognition, may be just a ‘filling in’ or deja-vu type anomaly of our neural nets” (cited in Shermer, 2001, p. 62). Shermer noted that in the Kanizsa illusion, “there is no square.

The same may be true for God. For most of us, it is very difficult not to see Gullibility in Religion 35 a pattern of God when looking at the false boundaries and bright interiors of the universe” (p. 63). An alternative explanation of religion, based on transferring to “God” the young child’s initial quasi-religious worship of his parents, was provided in a developmental study of magical thinking by Jean Piaget (1926/1969) discussed in chapter 1. Shermer posited a “Belief Engine” to explain why most people (90% of Americans, the highest of any Western population) profess a belief in God, but also a belief in magic and various supernatural phenomena, such as an ability to talk to the dead.

An example of gullibility in falling for tall tales can be found in Shakespeare’s last sole-authored play, The Tempest. The prankster Stefano persuades Caliban, the monster-like original inhabitant of the island, that he is the man in the moon. Caliban replies that indeed he had seen him on the moon along with his dog. This causes the jester Trinculo to comment: “By this good light, this is a very shallow monster. . A very weak monster. The man in the moon! ” Gullibility takes on a more serious tone in Shakespeare’s tragedies, where it sometimes has fatal consequences.

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