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.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Chvaja, R., Kundt, R., & Lang, M. (2020). The effects of synchrony on group moral hypocrisy. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 544589. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.544589

Nichols, A. D., Lang, M., Kavanagh, C., Kundt, R., Yamada, J., Ariely, D., & Mitkidis, P. (2020). Replicating and extending the effects of auditory religious cues on dishonest behavior. PLoS ONE, 15(8), e0237007. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237007

Lang, M., Krátký, J., & Xygalatas, D. (2020). The role of ritual behavior in anxiety reduction: An investigation of Marathi religious practices in Mauritius. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 375(1805), 20190431. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0431

Lang, M., & Kundt, R. (2020). Evolutionary, cognitive, and contextual approaches to the study of religious systems: A proposition of synthesis. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 32 (1), 1-46. doi: 10.1163/15700682-12341466

Lang, M. (2019). The evolutionary paths to collective rituals: An interdisciplinary perspective on the origins and functions of the basic social act. Archive for the Psychology of Religion 41 (3), 224-252. doi: 10.1177/0084672419894682

Xygalatas, D., Khan, S., Lang, M., Krátký, J., Kundt, R., Kundtová Klocová, E., & Shaver, J. H. (2019). Effects of extreme ritual practices on psychophysiological well-being. Current Anthropology 60 (25), 699-707. doi: 10.1086/705665

Lang, M., Purzycki, B.G., Apicella, C. L., Atkinson, Q. D., Bolyanatz, A., Cohen, E., Handley, C., Kundtová Klocová, E., Lesorogol, C., Mathew, S., McNamara, R. A., Moya, C., Placek, C. D., Soler, M., Vardy, T.,  Weigel, J. L., Willard, A. K., Xygalatas, D., Norenzayan, A., & Henrich, J. (2019). Moralizing Gods, Impartiality, and Religious Parochialism across 15 Societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286 (1898), 1-10. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0202

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. (2020). Multifunctional Religious Systems and Perturbed Dynamics of Psychological Wellbeing. Religion, Brain, & Behavior 10 (2), 179-184. 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.

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