Rituál a mysl: kognitivní a evoluční teórie rituálu

Investor logo
Title in English Ritual and mind: cognitive and evolutionary theories of ritual


Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Pantheon : religionistický časopis
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords cognitive science of religion; religion; ritual; cognition; evolution; by-product; adaptation; function; costly signaling
Description In the Cognitive Science of Religion, religion and rituals are not considered as sui generis phenomena but as results of ordinary cognition. Lawson and McCauley redirected the study of religion and ritual towards mechanism underlying human ritual behaviour and understood this "cognitive turn" as a complementary approach to the earlier interpretive work in anthropology and psychology. Inspired by Chomsky, they analysed ritual grammar and proposed that what is unique about it is the presence of super-human agency. They have also tried to explain ritual dynamics and the evolution of ritual systems by looking at ritual form. In contrast, Harvey Whitehouse focussed on ritual frequency as the driving force behind change and the occurrence of rituals, whereby he identified two main ritual modes - doctrinal and imagistic. Boyer and Liénard have been proponents of the operationalization of ritual constituents and hence elaborated on the basis of Rappaport's list of recurrent ritual features. The most prominent of these features was that ritual actions have no causal connection to the desired outcome. Boyer and Liénard thus suggested that rituals may serve the function of precaution against potential danger. Moreover, the efficacy of ritual actions seems to be judged by participants in a ritual in a similar manner cross-culturally. Studies by Barrett and Lawson and later by Souza and Legare showed that people spontaneously and selectively process crucial information in the structure of rituals. Last, but not least, human behavioural ecologists see religious ritual systems as adaptive complexes. They use methods from ethology and anthropology to support the idea that ritual actions have an evolutionary communicative function by serving as costly signals of group commitment and thus enabling cooperation. Sosis and Xygalatas have gathered evidence from field work, economic experiments and physiological measures that support these claims.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.