Examining Special Patient Rituals in a Chinese Cultural Context: A Research Report

Journal of Cognition and Culture 15 (5):530-541 (2015)
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Abstract

Is reasoning about religious ritual tethered to ordinary, nonreligious human reasoning about actions? E. Thomas Lawson and Robert N. McCauley’s ritual form hypothesis constitutes a cognitive approach to religious ritual – an explanatory theory that suggests people use ordinary human cognition to make specific predictions about ritual properties, relatively independent of cultural or religious particulars. Few studies assess the credibility ofrfhand further evidence is needed to generalize its predictions across cultures. Towards this end, we assessed culturally Chinese “special patient” rituals in Singapore. Our findings strongly supportrfhpredictions for special patient ritual repeatability, reversibility, sensory pageantry and emotionality.

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