Kapitány, R, Kavanagh, C and Whitehouse, H (2020) Ritual morphospace revisited: the form, function and factor structure of ritual practice. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 375 (1805). 20190436 - ?. ISSN 0962-8436

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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 analyse 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 can be detected. First, we conduct a factor analysis on 651 rituals from 74 cultural groups, in which 102 binary variables are 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 appears 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 that 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. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ritual renaissance: new insights into the most human of behaviours'.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: cross-cultural; emotion; cultural evolution; anthropology; ritual modes; ritual
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2020 11:05
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2020 11:05
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8322

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