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Robert N. McCauley, E. Thomas Lawson- Bringing Ritual to Mind

Robert N. McCauley, E. Thomas Lawson- Bringing Ritual to Mind

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Published by Irini_Ka
Bringing Ritual to Mind explores the cognitive and psychological foundations of religious ritual systems. Participants must recall their rituals well enough to ensure a sense of continuity across performances, and those rituals must motivate them to transmit and re-perform them. Most religious rituals the world over exploit either high performance frequency or extraordinary emotional stimulation (but not both) to enhance their recollection (the availability of literacy has little impact on this). But why do some rituals exploit the first of these variables while others exploit the second? McCauley and Lawson advance the ritual form hypothesis, arguing that participants' cognitive representations of ritual form explain why. Reviewing evidence from cognitive, developmental and social psychology and from cultural anthropology and the history of religions, they utilize dynamical systems tools to explain the recurrent evolutionary trajectories religions exhibit.

Features
• Employs cognitive science to explain patterns among religious ritual systems
• Stands out from other books in the field in its use of tools from dynamical systems theory to represent the variables shaping the patterns in religious ritual systems
• Explores and combines evidence from Melanesian materials from cultural anthropology, and Christian materials from the history of religions
Bringing Ritual to Mind explores the cognitive and psychological foundations of religious ritual systems. Participants must recall their rituals well enough to ensure a sense of continuity across performances, and those rituals must motivate them to transmit and re-perform them. Most religious rituals the world over exploit either high performance frequency or extraordinary emotional stimulation (but not both) to enhance their recollection (the availability of literacy has little impact on this). But why do some rituals exploit the first of these variables while others exploit the second? McCauley and Lawson advance the ritual form hypothesis, arguing that participants' cognitive representations of ritual form explain why. Reviewing evidence from cognitive, developmental and social psychology and from cultural anthropology and the history of religions, they utilize dynamical systems tools to explain the recurrent evolutionary trajectories religions exhibit.

Features
• Employs cognitive science to explain patterns among religious ritual systems
• Stands out from other books in the field in its use of tools from dynamical systems theory to represent the variables shaping the patterns in religious ritual systems
• Explores and combines evidence from Melanesian materials from cultural anthropology, and Christian materials from the history of religions

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Irini_Ka on Jun 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/30/2013

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Bringing Ritual to Mind
Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms
BringingRitualtoMind 
exploresthecognitiveandpsychologicalfounda-tionsofreligiousritualsystems.Participantsmustrecalltheirritualswellenough to ensure a sense of continuity across performances, and thoserituals must motivate them to transmit and re-perform them. Most re-ligious rituals the world over exploit either high performance frequencyor extraordinary emotional stimulation (but not both) to enhance theirrecollection; the availability of literacy has little impact on this. But whydosomeritualsexploitthefirstofthesevariableswhileothersexploitthesecond? McCauley and Lawson advance the ritual form hypothesis, ar-guing that participants’ cognitive representations of ritual form explainwhy. Reviewing evidence from cognitive, developmental and social psy-chology, cultural anthropology, and the history of religions, they utilizedynamical systems tools to explain the recurrent evolutionary trajecto-ries religions exhibit.
ROBERT N
.
M
C
CAULEY
is Professor of Philosophy and Director of theEmory College Center for Teaching and Curriculum at Emory Univer-sity in Atlanta. He is the author, with Lawson, of 
Rethinking Religion
(Cambridge, 1990). He is also the editor of 
The Churchlands and their Critics
(1996), and has contributed articles to a wide variety of jour-nals, including
Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Psychology, Synthese,Consciousness and Cognition, History of Religions, Journal of the American Academy of Religion,
and
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion.
E
.
THOMAS LAWSON
is Professor of Comparative Religion at WesternMichigan University, Executive Editor of the
Journal of Cognition and Culture,
and author, with McCauley, of 
Rethinking Religion
. He is theauthor of 
Religions of Africa: Traditions in Transformation
(1984), andhas contributed chapters to many books, articles to a wide variety of journals, and a large number of entries to encyclopedias.
 
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