Cognitive Mechanisms of Belief Change was released by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. In this text Smith argues that the human mind did not evolve to find the truth or work out the facts. Instead, he describes how the mind was equipped through evolution with an impulsion to create, transmit and defend beliefs that have utility, whether true or not. Cognitive Mechanisms of Belief Change explains how and why we change our beliefs.
Belief change lies at the heart of all human aspirations. From career progression, weight loss, spiritual commitment, and ideological passion, to love, grief, war, identity, and sport, beliefs guide our lives and to a great extent, determine our success, satisfaction and happiness. Cognitive Mechanisms of Belief Change is relevant to anyone interested in the machinations of belief change. It explains how certain ideas and concepts steal a place in the mind because they latch on to hardwired ways of thinking, experiencing, and behaving. Concepts throw light upon the mind’s desires, which in turn casts a kaleidoscope of silhouettes against the walls of thought, with those taking distinct shape forging the outlines for beliefs to inhabit. Beliefs infiltrate our minds, and this book shows how they arrive and change in ways critical to our sense of meaning and identity.