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The Psychology of Belief with James E. Alcock

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James E. Alcock, PhD, is professor emeritus of psychology at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a fellow and member of the executive council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is author of Parapsychology: Science or Magic, Science and Supernature: A Critical Appraisal of Parapsychology, and Belief: What It Means To Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling. He is also coauthor of An Introduction to Social Psychology.

Here he points out that belief systems can and do result in both murders and suicides. We may pay a very high price for our beliefs; so making sure that they accurately reflect factual circumstances can be a matter of life and death. We rarely have the opportunity to conduct original research to support any of our beliefs. So, generally, we form our belief systems based on trust of various sources. Furthermore, we are all vulnerable to holding ungrounded and irrational beliefs. Periodically, it is very useful to question our beliefs.

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in "parapsychology" ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). He is past-vice-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and is the recipient of the Pathfinder Award from that association for his contributions to the study of consciousness.

(Recorded on December 17, 2018)

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