Contextual features of problem-solving and social learning give rise to spurious associations, the raw materials for the evolution of rituals
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):617-618 (2006)
If rituals persist in part because of their memory-taxing attributes, from whence do they arise? I suggest that magical practices form the core of rituals, and that many such practices derive from learned pseudo-causal associations. Spurious associations are likely to be acquired during problem-solving under conditions of ambiguity and danger, and are often a consequence of imitative social learning. (Published Online February 8 2007).
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