New paper about the evolution of human ritual

Journal Religion, Brain, & Behavior published article authored by Martin Lang and Radek Kundt where they synthesize literature from several disciplines to identify possible reasons for the evolution of collective rituals. The authors argue that rituals evolved to facilitate cooperative communication.


3 Aug 2023

Estimated arrival of ritualized signals, their underlying cognitive mechanisms, and evolutionary pressures.

The authors target the evolutionary puzzle of ritual origins in the hominid lineage. Specifically, they investigate whether collective rituals could have evolved in the Pleistocene as an adaptive response to socio-ecological pressures. Lang and Kundt compare and synthesize evidence from archaeology, paleoanthropology and the cognitive sciences to establish a possible evolutionary pathway that led to complex ritual systems that are typical for contemproray human cultures around the globe.

The paper also includes commentaries from eight specialists in the discussed research fields who comment on the proposed evolutionary model and a response by Radek Kundt and Martin Lang.

You can read the paper for free here:

Commentaries and the authors' response can be found here:

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