chapter  11
12 Pages

I believe to my soul: Frank Krueger and Jordan Grafman

ByFRANK KRUEGER, JORDAN GRAFMAN

Humans believe. We will tell you that quite easily whether it is from a stage or in a courtroom. Some beliefs are rooted in perception and are somewhat easy to verify like I believe the moon was full last night. Other beliefs are rooted in abstract thoughts like I believe in God. The degree of confidence people have in their beliefs is associated with the factual and verifiable nature of the belief, scientific advances that support or deny the belief, a shared acknowledgment of the belief between members of their social in-group, the degree to which the belief deviates from their own implicit processing of the same evidence (e.g., differences between an explicit versus implicit acknowledgment of bias towards a social out-group member), and similar factors that are differentially weighted in value depending on the belief of interest. The importance of our beliefs is that they give us a particular individual behavioral signature that is explicit and implicit, ground our actions within a social context, and provide an advertising billboard to other individuals so that they can see some similarities between us and them. Thus, regardless of the particular belief, beliefs root us in the world, shape our essential reality, and allow us to navigate through the world with some confidence. And of course, beliefs are housed in our brains with different features of a belief represented in a distributed fashion throughout the brain.