Kapitány, R, Kavanagh, C and Whitehouse, H (2020) Ritual Morphospace Revisited: The form, function, and factor structure of ritual practice. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375 (1805). ISSN 0080-4622

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Human rituals exhibit bewildering diversity, from the Mauritian Kavadi to Catholic communion. Is this diversity
infinitely plastic or are there some general dimensions along which ritual features vary? We analysed two cross-cultural datasets, one drawn from the anthropological record, and another novel contemporary dataset to
examine whether a consistent underlying set of latent dimensions in ritual structure and experiences were
detected. First, we conducted a factor analysis on 651 rituals from 74 cultural groups, in which 102 binary variables were coded. We find a reliable set of dimensions emerged, which provide potential candidates for foundational elements of ritual form. Notably, we find that the expression of features associated with dysphoric and euphoric experiences in rituals appear to be largely orthogonal. Second, we follow-up with a pre-registered factor analysis examining contemporary ritual experiences of 779 individuals from Japan, India, and the US. We find supporting evidence that ritual experiences are clustered in relatively orthogonal euphoric, dysphoric, frequency and cognitive dimensions. Our findings suggest there are important regularities in the diversity of ritual expression and experience observed across both time and culture. We discuss the implications of these findings for cognitive theories of ritual and cultural evolution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ritual, Cross-cultural, emotion, anthropology, ritual modes, cultural evolution.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2020 09:03
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2021 01:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/7834

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