Hierarchical Organization of Segmentation in Non-Functional Action Sequences
Issue: Vol 1 No. 1 (2013)
Both folk and scientific taxonomies of behavior distinguish between instrumental and ritual behavior. Recent studies indicate that behaviors dominated by ritual features tend to increase cognitive load by focusing attentional and working memory resources on low-level perceptual details and psycho-physics. In contrast to the general consensus on anthropology and the study of religion, one study did not find any modulation effect of expectations (e.g., cultural information or priors) on cognitive load. It has, therefore, been suggested that the increase reflects a perceptual mechanism that drives categorization of ritual behavior. The present study investigated how an increase in cognitive load elicited by ritual behavior can influence hierarchically-related representations of actions and if expectation can modulate such hierarchical action representations. The study found that hierarchical alignment during segmentation of actions with ritual features was reduced in comparison to instrumental actions but that expectations only vaguely modulate this reduction. It is argued that these results lend support to the resource depletion model ritual behavior.
Author: Kristoffer Laigaard Nielbo, Uffe Schjoedt, Jesper Sørensen
Bartlett, M. S. 1937. “Properties of sufficiency and statistical tests.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A-Mathematical and Physical Sciences 160(901), 268–282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1937.0109
Bauer, P. J., and J. M. Mandler. 1990. “Remembering what happened next: Very young children’s recall of event sequences.” In Knowing and Remembering in Young Children, 9–29. Cambridge University Press.
Bell, C. (1998). Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions. Oxford: Oxford Univesity Press.
Blakemore, S. J., and J. Decety. 2001. “From the perception of action to the understanding of intention.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2(8): 561–567.
Bloch, M. (1989). Ritual, History and Power: Selected Papers in Anthropology. London: Berg Publishers.
Boyer, P., and P. Liénard. 2006. “Why ritualized behavior? Precaution Systems and action Parsing in Developmental, Pathological and Cultural Rituals.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29(6): 595–660. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X06009332
Cheng, P. W. 1997. “From covariation to causation: A causal power theory.” Psychological Review 104(2): 367–405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.104.2.367
Cheng, P. W., and Novick, L. R. 1992. Covariation in natural causal induction. Psychological Review 99(2): 365–382. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.99.2.365
Dittrich, W. H., and Lea, S. E. G. 1994. Visual perception of intentional motion. Perception 23(3), 253–268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/p230253
Frazer, S. J. G. 2000 (1890). The Collected Works of J.G. Frazer: The Golden Bough. London: Routledge.
Gopnik, A., C. Glymour, D. M. Sobel, L. E. Schulz, T. Kushnir and D. Danks. 2004.
“A Theory of Causal Learning in Children: Causal Maps and Bayes Nets. Psychological review 111(1): 3–31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.111.1.3
Gopnik, A., and J. B. Tenenbaum 2007. “Bayesian Networks, Bayesian Learning and Cognitive Development.” Developmental Science 10(3): 281–287. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00584.x
Gopnik, A., and L. Schulz. 2004. “Mechanisms of theory formation in young children.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8(8): 371–377. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2004.06.005
Guthrie, S. E. 1993. Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hanson, C., and W. Hirst. 1989. “On the Representation of Events: A Study of Orientation, Recall, and Recognition.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 118(2): 136–147. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3418.104.22.168
Hard, B.M., G. Recchia, and B. Tversky. 2011. “The shape of action.” Journal of
Experimental Psychology: General 140(4): 586. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024310
Hard, B. M., S. C. Lozano, and B. Tversky. 2006. “Hierarchical encoding of behavior: translating perception into action.” Journal of Experimental Psychology. General 135(4): 588–608. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3422.214.171.1248
Heider, F. 1944. “Social Perception and Phenomenal Causality.” Psychological Review 51(6): 358–374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0055425
Heider, F., and M. Simmel. 1944. “An experimental study of apparent behavior.” The American Journal of Psychology 57(2): 243–259. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1416950
Holm, S. 1979. “A simple sequentually rejective multiple test procedure.” Scandinavian Journal of Statisitcs 6(2): 65–70.
Humphrey, C., and J. Laidlaw. 1994. The Archetypal Actions of Ritual: A Theory of Ritual Illustrated by the Jain Rite of Worship. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Huxley, J. 1914. “The Courtship Habits of the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).” The Journal of the Linnean Society of London. Zoology 53: 253–292.
Kreinath, J., J. A. M. Snoek, and M. Stausberg. 2008. Theorizing Rituals: Classical Topics, Theoretical Approaches, Analytical Concepts (Numen Book Series). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
Kurby, C., and J. Zacks. 2008. “Segmentation in the Perception and Memory of Events.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12(2): 72–79. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2007.11.004
Kushnir, T., A. Gopnik, L. Schulz and D. Danks. 2003. “Inferring Hidden Causes.” Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 699–703.
Leslie, A. M., and S. Keeble. 1987. “Do Six-Month-Old Infants Perceive Causality?” Cognition 25(2): 265–288. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(87)80006-9
Lienard, P., and P. Boyer. 2006. Whence collective rituals? A cultural selection model of ritualized behavior. American Anthropologist 108(4): 814–827. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/aa.2006.108.4.814
Malinowski, B. 2008 (1922). Argonauts Of The Western Pacific. Malinowski Press.
Mandler, J. M. 1992. “How to Build a Baby: II. Conceptual Primitives.” Psychological Review 99(4): 587–604. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.99.4.587
McClelland, J. L., and R. M. Thompson. 2007. “Using Domain-General Principles to Explain Childrens Reasoning Abilities.” Developmental Science 10(3): 333–356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00586.x
Michotte, A. 1963. The Perception of Causality. New York: Basic Books.
Newtson, D. 1973. “Attribution and the Unit of Perception of Ongoing Behavior.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 28(1): 28–38.
Newtson, D., G. Engquist and J. Bois. 1977. “The Objective Basis of Behavior Units.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35(12): 847–862. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0035584
Nielbo, K. L., D. M. Braxton and A. Upal. 2012. “Computing Religion: A New Tool in the Multilevel Analysis of Religion.” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 24(3): 267–290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/157006812X635709
Nielbo, K. L., and J. Sørensen. 2011. “Spontaneous Processing of Functional and Non-Functional Action Sequences.” Religion, Brain and Behavior 1(1): 18–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2153599X.2010.550722
Nielbo, K. L., and J. Sørensen. In press. “Prediction Error in Functional and Non-functional Action Sequences—A Computational Exploration of Ritual and Ritualized Event Processing. Journal of Cognition and Culture.
Otgaar, H., H. Alberts and L. Cuppens. 2012. “How Cognitive Resources Alter our Perception of the Past: Ego Depletion Enhances the Susceptibility to Suggestion.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 26(1): 159–163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1810
Rappaport, R. A. 1977. Ecology, Meaning, and Religion. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Rappaport, R. A. 1999. Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511814686
Schjødt, U., J. Sørensen, K.L. Nielbo, D. Xygalatas, P. Mitkidis and J. Bulbulia. In press. “Cognitive Resource Depletion in Religious Interactions.” Religion, Brain and Behavior.
Scholl, B. J. and K. Nakayama. 2002. “Causal Capture: Contextual Effects on the Perception of Collision Events.” Psychological Science 13(6): 493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.00487
Scholl, B. J. and P. D. Tremoulet. 2000. “Perceptual Causality and Animacy.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4(8): 299–309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01506-0
Shapiro, S.S., and M.B. Wilk. 1965. “An Analysis of Variance Test for Normality.”
Biometrika 52(3/4): 591–611. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2333709
Smith, W. R. 1972 (1889). Religion of the Semites: The Fundamental Institutions. New York: Schocken Books.
Sperber, D. 1975. Rethinking Symbolism. Cambridge University Press.
Sørensen, J. 2007. “Acts That Work: A Cognitive Approach to Ritual Agency.” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 19(3–4): 281–300.
Staal, F. 1979. “The Meaninglessness of Ritual.” Numen 26(1), 2–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156852779X00244
Staal, Frits. 1990. Rules Without Meaning: Ritual, Mantras and the Human Sciences. New York: Peter Lang.
Tambiah, S. J. 1990. Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Turner, V. W. 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Aldine.
Watanabe, J. M., and B. B. Smuts. 1999. “Explaining Religion without Explaining It Away: Trust, Truth, and the Evolution of Cooperation in Roy A. Rappaport’s The Obvious Aspects of Ritual.” American Anthropologist 101(1): 98–112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/aa.19126.96.36.199
Wilder, D. A. 1978a. “Predictability of Behaviors, Goals, and Unit of Perception.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 4(4): 604–607. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/014616727800400422
Wilder, D. A. 1978b. “Effect of Predictability on Units of Perception and Attribution.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 4(2): 281–284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/014616727800400222
Wolpert, D. M. and J. R. Flanagan. 2001. Motor prediction. Current Biology 11(18): 729. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0960-9822(01)00432-8
Zacks, J. M. 2004. “Using movement and intentions to understand simple events.” Cognitive Science 28(6): 979–1008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog2806_5
Zacks, J. M, and B. Tversky. 2001. “Event structure in perception and conception.” Psychological Bulletin 127(1): 3–21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.127.1.3
Zacks, J. M, B. Tversky and G. Iyer. 2001. “Perceiving, Remembering, and Communicating Structure in Events.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 130(1): 29–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-34188.8.131.52
Zacks, J. M., and J. Q. Sargent. 2010. “Event Perception: A Theory and Its Application to Clinical Neuroscience.” Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory 53: 253–299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0079-7421(10)53007-X
Zacks, J. M., N. K. Speer, K. M. Swallow, T. S. Braver, and J. R. Reynolds. 2007. “Event Perception: A Mind-Brain Perspective.” Psychological Bulletin 133(2): 273–293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.133.2.273
Zor, R., H. Hermesh, H. Szechtman and D. Eilam. 2009. “Turning order into chaos through repetition and addition of elementary acts in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).” World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 10(4–2): 480–487.
Zor, R., H. Keren, H. Szechtman, J. Mort and D. Eilam. 2009. “Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: A Disorder of Pessimal (Non-Functional) Motor Behavior.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 120: 288–298. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01370.x