Not just dead meat: an evolutionary account of corpse treatment in mortuary rituals

Journal of Cognition and Culture Published In Pages: 1-33
By White, Claire, Marin, Maya, Fessler, Daniel M.T.


Authors suggest that in a majority of studied societies, kin of the deceased tend to engage ritually in risky prolonged and intimate preparation behaviors with corpses. This occurs namely in visual exposure and tactile interaction. Authors hypothesize that this extended contact not only allows true confirmation of death (through exposure to many cues), but also facilitates acceleration of a grieving process that returns the bereaved to a normal state of social functioning.


Authors extract information from 57 societies in the HRAF database.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Probability Sample Files (PSF)Combinationresearchers rate mortuary rituals

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Christina Carolus