Episode 008: Anxiety, Rituals and Religion with Martin Lang

Martin Lang

Martin Lang introduces his current study of rituals and ritualization in laboratory and field settings.  He continues with the discuss of his latest project which is focused on the connection between ritual behaviors and anxiety.  More specifically he found that when people experience anxiety, they tend to behave in a ritual like fashion.  He expands on the role or ritualization and religion in our everyday lives and concludes the interview by discussing how Mickey Mouse and gods are compared in his field of work.

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Martin is interested in studying ritual and ritualization in laboratory and field settings. He has conducted research on topics such as the role of music and synchronous movement in human cooperation; the role of ritual in fostering fairness; and the relationship between ritualized behavior and anxiety. He is currently a graduate student at UConn’s Anthropology and a research associate at the Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA) at Masaryk University.


“Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
Immanuel Kant


Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow

Glimpse into the interview:

ES: What are you the most excited about in your field of work?

ML: I think that what I most like about my field of study is interdisciplinarity. I was able to work with several specialists from different fields and tried to combine their expertise in order to bring novel results.


ES: What is your most recent project/research?

ML: In our last study we focused on the connection between ritual behavior and anxiety. We demonstrated that there is a link between anxiety and ritualized behavior. We found that when people experience anxiety, they tend to behave in a ritual like fashion.


ES: Tell us one fun fact about your field of work that an average listener might not know?

ML: Well one fun fact listeners will probably not know about is that our discipline is seriously studying Mickey Mouse.


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