Dr. Mark Reimers will present on The Neuropsychology of Dogmatic Beliefs and Delusions.
Novelists and historians have amply documented how humans become entangled in dogmas and delusions. Recent events have brought them to the front pages of our daily paper. While humanists decry such dogmas, we often struggle in vain trying to combat delusions in others by reasoned argument; and we are often blind to our own dogmas and delusions.
This talk will discuss what evidence we have so far from neuroscience and social psychology about how people form dogmas and delusions. The roots lie in our recent evolutionary adaptations for group living. Delusions are not really like honest mistakes in perception or reasoning. False beliefs hold some meaning to the individual, and are resistant to reasoning; so are shared delusions that hold important social meaning for the group. Psychologists are beginning to sketch connections between false memories and delusions. Some people have proposed evidence-based strategies for addressing people in conversations about difficult issues in which delusions play a large role.