ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (1): 169-179.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.00169

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

 Ritual in the psychology field: A repetitive but meaningful behavior

 RAN Yaxuan1; WEI Haiying2; LI Qing3; LEI Chao4   

  1.  (1 School of Business Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China) (2 School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China) (3 Shenzhen Tourism College, Jinan University, Shenzhen 518053, China) (4 Medical Business School, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510006, China)
  • Received:2017-06-07 Online:2018-01-15 Published:2017-11-28
  • Contact: WEI Haiying, E-mail:; RAN Yaxuan, E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Ritual is so widespread that people are always involved in these activities. Ritual refers to a predefined sequence of symbolic actions often characterized by formality and repetition that lacks direct instrumental purpose. Integrating theoretical and empirical conceptualizations of rituals, the present research identifies three key criteria for rituals: a fixed sequence of behaviors, symbolic meaning, and non-functional behavior. There are two kinds of research methods of rituals: recall task and scenario task. In addition, individuals’ emotion factors and cognitive factors could predict one’s intention to participate in a ritual. Further, based on five theoretical perspectives–evolutionary theory, embodied cognition theory, interaction ritual chains theory, learning theory, and social control theory, ritual could comfort one’s emotional state, recover one’s attention and control, promote one’s social relationship, and reinforce social norms and social culture. Finally, future research on ritual should pay more attention to the operational definition, the indigenous research design, the double-edged sword effect, the experimental methodology, and the neuro mechanism.

Key words: ritual, ritualization, ritualized behavior

CLC Number: