Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Why we think rituals can influence results

From Michael Shermer’s article I already learned that people see patterns even when there is none. The article below points out that this type of behaviour was also observed in pigeons!  From BBC News Magazine, 14 September 2011:

Go Figure: Why we think rituals can influence results

By Michael Blastland

We all have lucky rituals or charms but why do we see meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data, asks Michael Blastland.

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September 15, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain, statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control the World

Humans have a tendency to see patterns in everything, even when there is none (“patternicity”);  there is also the tendency to assume there is an agent causing actions (“agenticity”), explained in the article below.  I am thinking that the “agenticity” could be an extension of our “patternicity” — since we see the pattern of  cause-effect so often, when we do not see the cause, we make it up (the invisible agents).  What do you think?

From Scientific American Magazine –  May 19, 2009

Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control the World

A Skeptic’s take on souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens and other invisible powers that be

By Michael Shermer

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, creationism, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, religion | , , , | 1 Comment