Contextual features of problem-solving and social learning give rise to spurious associations, the raw materials for the evolution of rituals
If rituals persist in part because of their memory-taxing attributes, from whence do they arise? I suggest that magical practices form the core of rituals, and that many such practices derive from learned pseudo-causal associations. Spurious associations are likely to be acquired during problem-solving under conditions of ambiguity and danger, and are often a consequence of imitative social learning.
(Published Online February 8 2007)