The ritual stance and the precaution system: the role of goal-demotion and opacity in ritual and everyday actions

Kapitany, Rohan and Nielsen, Mark (2016) The ritual stance and the precaution system: the role of goal-demotion and opacity in ritual and everyday actions. Religion, Brain and Behavior, 1-16. doi:10.1080/2153599X.2016.1141792


Author Kapitany, Rohan
Nielsen, Mark
Title The ritual stance and the precaution system: the role of goal-demotion and opacity in ritual and everyday actions
Journal name Religion, Brain and Behavior   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2153-5981
2153-599X
Publication date 2016-03-11
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/2153599X.2016.1141792
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract Rituals tend to be both causally opaque and goal demoted, yet these two qualities are rarely dissociated in the literature. Here we manipulate both factors and demonstrate their unique influence on ritual cognition. In a 2 × 3 (action type x goal information) between subjects design 484 US adults viewed causally opaque (ritual) or causally transparent (ordinary) actions performed on identical objects. They were provided with no goal information, positive goal information (“Blessing”) or negative goal information (“Cursing”). Neither causal opacity nor goal information influenced perceptions of physical change/causation. In contrast, causal opacity increased attributions of “specialness,” whereas goal information did not. Finally, goal information interacted with action type on measures of preference, such that ordinary actions are influenced by both “blessings” and “curses,” but ritual actions are only influenced by “curses.” These findings are interpreted in light of the Ritual Stance, and the cognitive bases of the effects are described with reference to Boyer and Liénard's hazard-precaution theory of ritualized behavior. The combined value of these two theories is discussed, and extended to a causal model of developmental ritual “calibration.”
Keyword Action perception
Action precaution system
Causal opacity
Goal demotion
Religion
Ritual
Ritual cognition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Psychology Publications
 
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