Martin Lang

I am interested in rituals, uncertainty, and social bonding

I obtained my Ph.D. at Masaryk University in 2016 for a dissertation on the effects of ritual behavior on anxiety and social bonding.  During my graduate career, I worked at the Anthropology Department at the University of Connecticut with Dimitris Xygalatas, and after obtaining my Ph.D., I worked for two years at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University with Joseph Henrich.

Currently, I work on the evolutionary underpinnings of ritual commitment signaling; on the cultural evolution of moralistic gods; on the role of music and synchronous movement in human cooperation; and the relationship between ritualized behavior and anxiety.

Post-doctoral researcher


Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Purzycki, B. G., & Lang, M. (2019). Identity fusion, outgroup relations, and sacrifice: A cross-cultural test. Cognition, 186, 1-6.

Martin Lang, Jan Krátký, John Shaver, Danijela Jerotijević & Dimitris Xygalatas (2019). Is Ritual Behavior a Response to Anxiety? In: Slone, D. J., McCorkle Jr., W. W. The Cognitive Science of Religion: A Methodological Introduction to Key Empirical Studies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 181-191.

John H. Shaver, Martin Lang, Jan Krátký, Eva Kundtová Klocová, Radek Kundt & Dimitris Xygalatas (2018). The Boundaries of Trust: Cross-Religious and Cross-Ethnic Field Experiments in Mauritius. Evolutionary Psychology, 1-15. doi:10.1177/1474704918817644

John H. Shaver, Susan DiVietro, Martin Lang, Richard Sosis (2018). Costs do not Explain Trust among Secular Groups. Journal of Cognition and Culture 18, 180-204.

Xygalatas, D., Kotherová, S., Maňo, P., Kundt, R., Cigán, J., Kundtová Klocová, E., & Lang. M. (2018). Big Gods in Small Places: The Random Allocation Game in Mauritius. Religion, Brain and Behavior, 8 (2), 243-261. doi: 10.1080/2153599X.2016.1267033

Xygalatas, D, & Lang, M. (2017). Religion and prosociality. In N. Clements (Ed.), Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. Religion: Mental Religion. (pp. 119–133). Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Lang, M., Bahna, V., Shaver, J.H., Reddish, P., & Xygalatas, D. (2017). Sync to Link: Endorphin-mediated Effects of Synchrony on Cooperation. Biolgical Psychology, 127, 191-197.  doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.06.001

Pazhoohi, F., Lang, M., Xygalatas, D., & Grammer, K. (2016). Religious Veiling as a Mate-Guarding Strategy: Effects of Environmental Pressures on Cultural Practices. Evolutionary Psychological Science, Epub before print. doi: 10.1007/s40806-016-0079-z

Krátký, J., Lang, M., Shaver, J. H., Jerotijević, D., and Xygalatas, D. (2016). Anxiety and Ritualization: Can Attention Discriminate Compulsion from Routine? Communicative & Integrative Biology, 9 (3), e1174799. doi: 10.1080/19420889.2016.1174799.

Lang, M., Mitkidis, P., Kundt, R., Nichols, A., Krajčíková, L., & Xygalatas, D. (2016). Music as a Sacred Cue: Effects of Religious Music on Moral Behavior, Frontiers in Psychology 7 (814), 1-13.  doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00814.

Lang, M., Shaw, D. J., Reddish, P., Wallot, S., Mitkidis, P., and Xygalatas, D. (2016). Lost in the Rhythm: Effects of Rhythm on Subsequent Interpersonal Coordination. Cognitive Science, 40 (7), 1797-1815. doi:10.1111/cogs.12302.

Lang, M., Krátký, J., Shaver, J. H., Jerotijević, D., and Xygalatas, D. (2015). Effects of Anxiety on Spontaneous Ritualized Behavior. Current Biology 25 (14), 1892–1897. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.049.



Lang, M. (In press). Multifunctional Religious Systems and Perturbed Dynamics of Psychological Wellbeing. Religion, Brain, & Behavior. doi: 10.1080/2153599X.2018.1532454

Lang, M., & Sosis, R. (2016). Uncertain Malinowski: The Importance of Preritual Stress Data. Current Anthropology, 52 (2). doi: 10.1086/691212

Lang, M., & Kundt, R. (2016). Can Predictive Coding Explain Past Experiences? Religion, Brain, & Behavior, 7 (1), pp. 71-73. doi: 10.1080/2153599X.2016.1150332.