Bruce Hood is currently Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society in the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. Bruce has been awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in neuroscience, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Infancy Researchers, the Robert Fantz memorial award and voted to Fellowship status by the society of American Psychological Science. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Biology (UK) and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Bruce has diverse research interests including the origins of supernatural beliefs, intuitive theory formation, object representation, spatial cognition, inhibitory control and general cognitive development conducted at his labs at the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre which opened in 2001.
Bruce has written two books for the general public, “SuperSense” (HarperOne, 2009) about the natural origins of supernatural beliefs which has been published in 12 countries, and “The Self Illusion” (Constable & Robinson 2012) about the fallacy that we are coherent, integrated individuals but rather a constructed narrative largely influenced by those around us. He has also co-authored a highly successful undergraduate textbook “Psychology” (Palgrave, 2011) and co-edited an academic book on development of object knowledge “The Origins of Object Knowledge” (OUP, 2009).
Bruce has appeared in a number of TV science documentaries and in 2011 he delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures which were broadcast on the BBC to over 4 million viewers. You can see the lectures as well as behind-the-scenes at the Ri Channel. He also repeated these lectures in Japan and Singapore in 2012.
His latest book, THE DOMESTICATED BRAIN was published by Pelican to relaunch their list.
Why do we care what others think? What keeps us bound together? How does the brain shape our behaviour? Bruce Hood is an award-winning psychologist who has taught at Cambridge and Harvard universities and is currently Director of the Cognitive Development Centre at the University of Bristol. He delivered the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures in 2011 and is the author of The Self Illusion and Supersense, described by New Scientist as 'important, crystal clear and utterly engaging'.
Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body - the 'me' inside me - is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other's actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you. We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit from the cot to the grave. It is an every changing character, created by the brain to provide a coherent interface between the multitude of internal processes and the external world demands that require different selves.
A fascinating and readable book, and one of the best books on the subject of why everyone sometimes believes weird things. --Fortean Times
A fascinating cornucopia of weird and strange stories and incidents that combine to present both a physiological and psychological case for the human instinct to need to believe. I would thoroughly recommend this book. --Stephen Woolley