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Collective rituals are present in all known societies, but their function is a matter of long-standing debates. Field observations suggest that they may enhance social cohesion and that their effects are not limited to those actively performing but affect the audience as well. Here we show physiological effects of synchronized arousal in a Spanish(More)
Previous research has shown that the matching of rhythmic behaviour between individuals (synchrony) increases cooperation. Such synchrony is most noticeable in music, dance and collective rituals. As well as the matching of behaviour, such collective performances typically involve shared intentionality: performers actively collaborate to produce joint(More)
Across religious belief systems, some supernatural agents are nearly always granted privileged epistemic access into the self's thoughts. In addition, the ethnographic literature supports the claim that, across cultures, supernatural agents are envisioned as (1) incapable of being deceived through overt behaviors; (2) preoccupied with behavior in the moral(More)
Religion may be one factor that enabled large-scale complex human societies to evolve. Utilizing a cultural evolutionary approach, this chapter seeks explanations for patterns of complexity and variation in religion within and across groups, over time. Properties of religious systems (e.g., rituals, ritualized behaviors, overimitation, synchrony, sacred(More)
Adaptationists explain the evolution of religion from the cooperative effects of religious commitments, but which cooperation problem does religion evolve to solve? I focus on a class of symmetrical coordination problems for which there are two pure Nash equilibriums: (1) ALL COOPERATE, which is efficient but relies on full cooperation; (2) ALL DEFECT,(More)
On 22 February 2011, Christchurch New Zealand (population 367,700) experienced a devastating earthquake, causing extensive damage and killing one hundred and eighty-five people. The earthquake and aftershocks occurred between the 2009 and 2011 waves of a longitudinal probability sample conducted in New Zealand, enabling us to examine how a natural disaster(More)
Collective rituals are biologically ancient and culturally pervasive, yet few studies have quantified their effects on participants. We assessed two plausible models from qualitative anthropology: ritual empathy predicts affective convergence among all ritual participants irrespective of ritual role; rite-of-passage predicts emotional differences,(More)