Eyes of Faith

A better understanding of our neighbor’s seemingly inscrutable ways may have to start with the question “why do you see it that way?” not “why do you think that way?”

Ritual and Life Satisfaction

When it comes to living a satisfying, meaningful life, it's ritual participation that matters, not professed belief.

Religion and Morality

Less religion may make the world more rational, but not necessarily more virtuous

What Makes a Terrorist?

Rather than blindly obeying, extremists are more likely to be willing collaborators

Imitating to Survive

When it comes to teaching values, it's the useless things we do that are the most important

Let 'Em Play! Using Ritual to Teach Self-Restraint

In a world where adults are increasingly imposing structure and control on children's play, research is indicating that rough-and-tumble play may be nature's way of teaching self-restraint.

Baby Rituals

The earliest interactions between moms and infants are ritualized interactions. Ritual is the means by which we draw infants and children deeper and deeper into the adult social world.

The Ritually Defined Person

Meaning may requiring giving up some individual autonomy and letting ritual define (at least some) of our identity

Cultus Familiae II: The Family Meal

Family meals are associated with a range of positive outcomes. But do they cause those outcomes?

Cultus Familiae: The Key to Domestic Harmony?

Family rituals and routines play a central role in both domestic harmony and children's social and academic success.

Rituals and Trust

Rituals can be a bother. But the bother tells others something about our character.

Sucking the Marrow out of Life – with Ritual

The wine is sweeter. The oysters, saltier. The experience more intense, when ritual is added.

Civilization Started with Ritual, Not Farming

The old story was that settled agriculture led to civilization. The new story is that ritual civilized us.

Rituals and Sex

Recent research indicates that people may be using church for reproductive purposes as much as sacred ones.

Rituals of Absolution: "Go and Sin No More?"

Absolution may make us feel better, but does it make us behave better? Recent studies provide conflicting results.

Song and Dance as Information

What do former Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou and the boy band N Sync have in common? They are both information sources. Our species avid craving for information may help explain the evolutionary origins of song and dance.

Two Caves, Two Rituals, Two Species

Two caves highlight the ritual differences between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. They also hint at why we are still here and they are not.

The Ritual Species

Ritual builds community. Intense ritual builds even stronger communities, and this probably made a critical difference when humans and Neanderthals competed over territory in Ice-Age Europe.

Larger than Life

Whatever terror, triumph, or transition life imposes on us, we use ritual to incorporate it into our lives. Ritual robs nature of the last word

Behavior over Belief

Ritual reminds us of our communal dependency. Sometimes that can be the difference between life and death.

Enduring What You Cannot Control

Ritual can produce extraordinary endurance for both individuals and humans as a species.