Anthropologists have long studied how rituals bind practitioners together. From African tribes moving rhythmically around a fire to the scripted kneeling and standing by Catholics during Sunday mass, participants deepen group identity through ritual.
But ritual also spills over into business and social situations. “The great thing about ritual is that anywhere humans are, a ritual will be there,” says Nicholas Hobson, a psychology and neuroscience researcher at the University of Toronto.
A new study in the journal Psychological Science has found that even when ritual is stripped of its cultural and social context, its power to bind groups remains.
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