Excitation Transfer and Religious Rituals : The Effects of Arousal on Social Behaviour

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Název česky Přenos vzrušení a náboženské rituály : Efekty vzrušení na sociální chování


Rok publikování 2013
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Religious rituals have been theorized to help produce social solidarity amongst group members (Durkheim, 2001 [1912]; Whitehouse, 2004), as well as hostility towards out-groups (Swann, Gomez, Whitehouse, & Bastian, 2012). Recent empirical research has started to examine specific aspects of collective rituals (e.g. synchronous movement (Reddish et al, 2013)) that might be important in modulating attitudes and behaviour towards the in-groups and the out-groups. Central aim of the current project is to focus on one such potential aspect, namely the role of physiological arousal in influencing social behaviour. Many religious rituals involve highly arousing stimuli and literature suggests that arousal can alter (mainly amplify) various emotions. For example, it has been shown in laboratory settings that at the individual level arousal can produce residual excitement that serves to intensify later emotional states like aggression (Zillmann, 1971), sexual attraction (Dutton & Aron, 1974) or humour appreciation (Cantor et al, 1974). Recent field studies, concentrating with greater ecological validity on the collective dimension of arousal, show that participants as well as spectators of religious rituals can share arousal to a great extent (Xygalatas et al, 2011), and that highly arousing rituals can promote pro-social behaviour (Xygalatas et al, 2013). However, it has yet to be established how arousal may influence prosociality and under what conditions arousal may produce pro-social effects. My rationale is based on the Excitation transfer theory from previous psychological research which states that, if certain conditions are met, arousal elicited by one stimulus can be mistakenly attributed to another (Zillmann, 1971). Here, I experimentally test whether autonomic arousal can alter (amplify) even more complex states, be they pro-social or anti-social.
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