Acts that protect : The effects of ritualized behavior on decision making under stress



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In many cultures, rituals, complementary to pragmatic means, contribute to positive outcomes in critical situations. For individual acting in the situation of stress, rituals presumably bring peace of mind, higher focus and confidence. This power of rituals is probably highly dependent on the way they are nested in cultural context and understood as trusted solutions in respected situations. Hence as habituated and culturally rich practices, rituals presumably shield against aversive effects of future threatening situations, but it is a matter of controversy whether also artificially developed or poorly habituated rituals dispose with this capacity. Building on our earlier work investigating ritual and stress, we developed a controlled study that would tap into buffering effects of artificial but habituated ritual performance. In a week-long preparation period, we first disposed our participants to individual ritual practice, to later measure their performance in three tasks mimicking real actions in their cognitive, decision making and tactical aspects. Performances were conducted under complex social stress. Along with behavioral measures and order to better understood underlying mechanisms we also monitored physiology and hormonal response to stress.
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