Publication details

Anxiety and ritualistic behavior in economic decision making



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Rich and orchestrated rituals attract attention from early times of ethnographic work. But rituals also gain gradual interest of evolutionary inspired theorizing on human behaviour and appears in popular outlets. More and more often we hear to ask what are the benefits of ritual behaviour and what factors motivates us to perform them? Inspired by now classic observations documented by Malinowski and taking pointers from recent developments of cognitive mechanisms that possibly contribute to reproduction of ritual behaviors, we work on research paradigms that aim to isolate and explore dependencies of psychological and physiological factors underpinning ritual behaviour. Among other underlying factors, the prominent position belongs to stress and anxiety. Stress alters manifested expressions towards greater repetitiveness, limits scope of behavioural repertoire and leads to greater predictability. Arguably, it makes us to risk more and inhibits our ability to explore new ideas and pathways. In the series of controlled studies, with the help of standardized measures used in economics, and control for hormonal levels we aimed to explore relationships between these factors. First study exploits naturally occurring hormonal fluctuations among women that according to ovulatory shift hypothesis should lead to different behaviour patterns. In the second study we used artificial but habituated ritual and asked whether such ritual can be a source of protection against aversive anxiety eliciting experiences. In both studies we used standardized measures of risk taking, exploratory behaviour and cognitive load.
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