Psychology of Religion

Edited by Justin L. Barrett

© 2010 – Routledge

1,632 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415488761
pub: 2010-04-29
US Dollars$1500.00

About the Book

Psychology of religion is essentially as old as psychology itself, with over a hundred years of history and claiming some of psychology’s most notable characters as contributors, including William James, Sigmund Freud, Gordon Allport, and Jean Piaget. In recent years, this subfield of psychology has risen in prominence. Sectarian violence, secularization, the ‘culture wars’, and increase in cross-cultural and cross-religious contact through migration, urbanization, and globalization have all contributed to heightened interest in questions such as: where do religious beliefs come from? Why do they seem to motivate behaviour so powerfully? Is religious belief and practice good or bad for us? Does religious belief assist or hinder morality?

Increasingly discussed by journalists and science-popularisers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, A.C. Grayling, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Lewis Wolpert, these sorts of questions are psychological questions with psychological answers emerging through the work of psychologists of religion.

Social and cultural factors have provided some motivation for renewed interest in psychology of religion, and additional impetus has been provided by new advances in psychological subfields, particularly cognitive, developmental, and evolutionary psychology. These three areas, previously only marginal contributors to psychology of religion, have begun making more substantial contributions concerning how and why human minds come to represent certain religious ideas and beliefs.

Not surprisingly, psychology of religion is becoming a more prominent focus of psychological research and teaching.

This collection presents the most up-to-date and comprehensive presentation of the psychology of religion available. The first volume focuses on psychological explanations of religion (that is, religion as something to be explained), the second concerning religious psychology, the third representing the impact of religion on thought, feelings, and behaviour, and the final volume considering implications of religious perspectives and findings for the practice of psychology, both scientific and applied. Historical and contemporary perspectives are integrated into thematically arranged sections. An extended introduction surveying the field begins the collection and an index increases the collection’s utility as a reference resource.

Available at a special introductory price. This price is applicable until 3 months after publication. For more information, please contact us (

Table of Contents


Volume I

1. William James, ‘Lecture 2’, The Varieties of Religious Experience (Penguin, 1902).

2. Sigmund Freud, ‘The Future of an Illusion’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (Hogarth Press, 1927), pp. 15–24.

3. Sigmund Freud, ‘A Religious Experience’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (Hogarth Press, 1928), pp. 169–72.

4. Carl Gustav Jung, Psychology and Religion (Yale University Press, 1938), pp. 102–14.

5. Ana-Maria Rizzuto, ‘Religious Development: A Psychoanalytic Point of View’, New Directions for Child Development, 1991, 52, 47–60.

6. Deborah Kelemen, ‘Are Children "Intuitive Theists"? Reasoning About Purpose and Design in Nature’, Psychological Science, 2004, 15, 5, 295–301.

7. Justin L. Barrett, Rebekah A. Richert, and Amanda Driesenga, ‘God’s Belief’s Versus Mother’s: The Development of Nonhuman Agent Concepts’, Child Development, 2001, 72, 1, 50–65.

8. E. Margaret Evans, ‘Beyond Scopes: Why Creationism Is Here to Stay’, in K. S. Rosengren, C. N. Johnson, and P. L. Harris (eds.), Imagining the Impossible: Magical, Scientific and Religious Thinking in Children (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 305–33.

9. Rita Astuti and Paul L. Harris, ‘Understanding Mortality and the Life of the Ancestors in Rural Madagascar’, Cognitive Science, 2008, 32, 4, 713–40.

10. Wayne Proudfoot and Phillip Shaver, ‘Attribution Theory and the Psychology of Religion’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1975, 14, 4, 317–30.

11. Bernard Spilka, Phillip Shaver, and Lee A. Kirkpatrick, ‘A General Attribution Theory for the Psychology of Religion’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1985, 24, 1, 1–18.

12. Anthony R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson, ‘How to Become a Cult Leader’, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (W. H. Freeman, 2001), pp. 302–17.

13. Peter Hills et al., ‘Primary Personality Trait Correlates of Religious Practice and Orientation’, Personality and Individual Differences, 2004, 36, 61–73.

14. Robert A. Emmons, ‘Is Spirituality an Intelligence? Motivation, Cognition, and the Psychology of Ultimate Concern’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2000, 101, 1, 3–26.

15. Ralph L. Piedmont, ‘Cross-Cultural Generalizability of the Spiritual Transcendence Scale to the Philippines: Spirituality as a Human Universal’, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 2007, 10, 2, 89–107.

16. Pascal Boyer, ‘Religious Thought and Behaviour as By-products of Brain Function’, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2003, 7, 3, 119–24.

17. Pascal Boyer and Charles Ramble, ‘Cognitive Templates for Religious Concepts: Cross-Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counter-Intuitive Representations’, Cognitive Science, 2001, 25, 535–64.

18. Pierre Lienard and Pascal Boyer, ‘Whence Collective Rituals? A Cultural Selection Model of Ritualized Behavior’, American Anthropologist, 2006, 108, 4, 814–27.

19. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, ‘Atheists: A Psychological Profile’, in M. Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

20. Pehr Granqvist et al., ‘Sensed Presence and Mystical Experiences Are Predicted by Suggestibility, Not by the Application of Transcranial Weak Complex Magnetic Fields’, Neuroscience Letters, 2005, 379, 1–6.

21. Joanna Collicutt McGrath, ‘Post-Traumatic Growth and the Origins of Early Christianity’, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 2006, 9, 3, 291–306.

Volume II

22. Walter N. Pahnke, ‘Drugs and Mysticism’, in B. Aaronson and H. Osmond (eds.), Psychedelics: The Uses and Implications of Hallucinogenic Drugs (Hogarth Press, 1970), pp. 145–65.

23. R. R. Griffiths et al., ‘Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance’, Psychopharmacology, 2006, 187, 268–83.

24. Arthur J. Deikman, ‘De-Automatization and the Mystic Experience’, Psychiatry, 1966, 29, 324–38.

25. Ralph W. Hood, ‘The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical Experience’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1975, 14, 1, 29–41.

26. Ralph W. Hood, ‘Differential Triggering of Mystical Experience as a Function of Self Actualization’, Review of Religious Research, 1977, 18, 264–70.

27. Peter C. Hill, ‘Toward an Attitude Process Model of Religious Experience’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1994, 33, 4, 303–14.

28. Andrew B. Newberg et al., ‘The Measurement of Regional Cerebral Blood Flow During Glossolalia: A Preliminary Spect Study’, Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 2006, 148, 67–71.

29. Lee A. Kirkpatrick, ‘God as a Substitute Attachment Figure: A Longitudinal Study of Adult Attachment Style and Religious Change in College Students’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1998, 24, 961–73.

30. Pehr Granqvist and Lee A. Kirkpatrick, ‘Religious Conversion and Perceived Childhood Attachment: A Meta-Analysis’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2004, 14, 4, 223–50.

31. Jane Allyn Hardyck, and Marcia Braden, ‘Prophecy Fails Again: A Report of a Failure to Replicate’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1962, 65, 136–41.

32. William W. Lambert, Leigh Triandis, and Margery Wolf, ‘Some Correlates of Beliefs in the Malevolence and Benevolence of Supernatural Beings: A Cross-Societal Study’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1959, 57, 162–8.

33. Bernard Spilka, James Addison, and Marguerite Rosensohn, ‘Parents, Self and God: A Test of Competing Theories of Individual-Religion Relationships’, Review of Religious Research, 1975, 16, 3, 154–65.

34. Chris J. Boyatzis and Denise L. Janicki, ‘Parent-Child Communication About Religion: Survey and Diary Data on Unilateral Transmission and Bi-Directional Reciprocity Styles’, Review of Religious Research, 2003, 44, 3, 252–70.

35. Justin L. Barrett and C. Frank Keil, ‘Conceptualizing a Nonnatural Entity: Anthropomorphism in God Concepts’, Cognitive Psychology, 1996, 31, 219–47.

36. Jacqueline D. Woolley and Katrina E. Phelps, ‘The Development of Children’s Beliefs About Prayer’, Journal of Cognition and Culture, 2001, 1, 2, 139–67.

37. George W. Scarlett and Lucy Perriello, ‘The Development of Prayer in Adolescence’, New Directions for Child Development, 1991, 52, 63–76.

38. Kalevi Tamminen, ‘Religious Experiences in Childhood and Adolescence: A Viewpoint of Religious Development between the Ages of 7 and 20’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1994, 4, 2, 61–85.

39. Marjorie L. Gunnoe and Kristin A. Moore, ‘Predictors of Religiosity among Youth Aged 17–22: A Longitudinal Study of the National Survey of Children’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2002, 41, 4, 613–22.

40. Paul Wink and Michele Dillon, ‘Spiritual Development across the Adult Life Course: Findings from a Longitudinal Study’, Journal of Adult Development, 2002, 9, 1, 79–94.

41. Bruce Hunsberger, Michael Pratt, and S. Mark Pancer, ‘A Longitudinal Study of Religious Doubts in High School and Beyond: Relationships, Stability, and Searching for Answers’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2002, 41, 2, 255–66.

42. Julia Juola Exline, ‘Stumbling Blocks on the Religious Road: Fractured Relationships, Nagging Vices, and the Inner Struggle to Believe’, Psychological Inquiry, 2002, 13, 182–9.

Volume III

43. Daniel N McIntosh, ‘Religion-as-Schema, with Implications for the Relation between Religion and Coping’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1995, 5, 1, 1–16.

44. Kenneth I. Pargament, ‘Religious Methods of Coping: Resources for the Conservation and Transformation of Significance’, in Edward P. Shafranske (ed.), Religion and the Clinical Practice of Psychology (American Psychological Association, 1997), pp. 215–39.

45. Crystal L. Park, ‘Religion as a Meaning-Making Framework in Coping with Life Stress’, Journal of Social Issues, 2005, 61, 4, 707–29.

46. Katja Wiech et al., ‘An Fmri Study Measuring Analgesia Enhanced by Religion as a Belief System’, Pain, 2009, 139, 467–76.

47. Kenneth I. Pargament, ‘The Bitter and the Sweet: An Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Religiousness’, Psychological Inquiry, 2002, 13, 168.

48. Chris J. Boyatzis and Katherine B. Quinlan, ‘Women’s Body Image, Disordered Eating, and Religion: A Critical Review of the Literature’, Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 2008, 19, 183–208.

49. Michael E. McCollough et al., ‘Religious Involvement and Morality: A Meta-Analytic Review’, Health Psychology, 2000, 19, 3, 211–22.

50. Gordon W. Allport and Michael J. Ross, ‘Personal Religious Orientation and Prejudice’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1967, 5, 432–43.

51. Michael J. Donahue, ‘Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiousness: Review and Meta-Analysis’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1985, 48, 2, 400–19.

52. Richard L. Gorsuch and Daniel Aleshire, ‘Christian Faith and Ethnic Prejudice: A Review and Interpretation of Research’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1974, 13, 281–307.

53. Bob Altemeyer and Bruce Hunsberger, ‘Authoritarianism, Religious Fundamentalism, Quest and Prejudice’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1992, 2, 2, 113–33.

54. John M. Darley and C. Daniel Batson, ‘From Jerusalem to Jericho: A Study of Situational and Dispositional Variables in Helping Behavior’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1973, 27, 100–8.

55. Jerry Goldfried and Maureen Miner, ‘Quest Religion and the Problem of Limited Compassion’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2002, 41, 685–95.

56. Elizabeth Weiss Ozorak, ‘Love of God and Neighbor: Religious and Volunteer Service among College Students’, Review of Religious Research, 2003, 44, 3, 285–99.

57. Aaron Murray-Swank, Annette Mahoney, and Kenneth I. Pargament, ‘Sanctification of Parenting: Links to Corporal Punishment and Parental Warmth among Biblically Conservative and Liberal Mothers’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2006, 16, 271–88.

58. Raymond F. Paloutzian, ‘Purpose in Life and Value Changes Following Conversion’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1981, 41, 1153–60.

59. Raymond F. Paloutzian, James T. Richardson, and Lewis R. Rambo, ‘Religious Conversion and Personality Change’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999, 67, 1047–79.

60. Adam B. Cohen and Paul Rozin, ‘Religion and the Morality of Mentality’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001, 81, 697–710.

61. Azim F. Shariff and Ara Norenzayan, ‘God Is Watching You: Priming God Concepts Increases Prosocial Behavior in an Anonymous Economic Game’, Psychological Science, 2007, 18, 9, 803–9.

62. Richard Sosis and Bradley J. Ruffle, ‘Religious Rital and Cooperation: Testing for a Relationship on Israeli Religious and Secular Kibbutzim’, Current Anthropology, 2003, 44, 5, 713–21.

Volume IV

63. Stanton L. Jones, ‘A Constructive Relationship for Religion with the Science and Profession of Psychology: Perhaps the Boldest Model Yet’, American Psychologist, 1994, 49, 3, 184–99.

64. Melford E. Spiro, ‘Religious Systems as Culturally Constituted Defense Mechanisms’, in Benjamin Kilborne and L. L. Langness (eds.), Culture and Human Nature: Theoretical Papers of Melford E. Spiro (University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 145–60.

65. Rodney Stark, ‘Psychopathology and Religious Commitment’, Review of Religious Research, 1971, 12, 3, 165–76.

66. O. Hobart Mowrer, ‘Some Constructive Features of the Concept of Sin’, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1960, 7, 185–8.

67. Albert Ellis, ‘There Is No Place for the Concept of Sin in Psychotherapy’, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1960, 7, 188–92.

68. Allen E. Bergin, ‘Psychotherapy and Religious Values’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1980, 48, 1, 95–105.

69. Lee Ann Kaskutas, Jason Bond, and Constance Weisner, ‘The Role of Religion, Spirituality and Alcoholics Anonymous in Sustained Sobriety’, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 2003, 21, 1, 1–16.

70. Rebecca L. Propst et al., ‘Comparative Efficacy of Religious and Non-Religious Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for the Treatment of Clinical Depression in Religious Individuals’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1992, 60, 94–103.

71. Jon Kabat-Zin, ‘Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Context: Past, Present, and Future’, Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2003, 10, 2, 144–56.

72. Jeremy Ginges et al., ‘Sacred Bounds on Rational Resolution of Violent Political Conflict’, PNAS, 2007, 104, 18, 7357–60.

73. Peter C. Hill and Kenneth I. Pargament, ‘Advances in the Conceptualization and Measurement of Religion and Spirituality: Implications for Physical and Mental Health Research’, American Psychologist, 2003, 58, 64–74.

74. David M. Wulff, ‘The Psychology of Religion: An Overview’, in Edward P. Shafranske (ed.), Religion and the Clinical Practice of Psychology (American Psychological Association, 1997), pp. 43–70.

75. Richard L. Gorsuch, ‘Psychology of Religion’, Annual Review of Psychology, 1988, 39, 201–21.

76. Robert A. Emmons and Raymond F. Paloutzian, ‘The Psychology of Religion’, Annual Review of Psychology, 2003, 54, 377–402.

77. Jacob A. Belzen and Ralph W. Hood, ‘Methodological Issues in the Psychology of Religion: Toward Another Paradigm’, Journal of Psychology, 2006, 140, 1, 5–28.

78. Lee A. Kirkpatrick, ‘Toward and Evolutionary Psychology of Religion and Personality’, Journal of Personality, 1999, 67, 6, 921–52.

79. Peter C. Hill, ‘Giving Religion Away: What the Study of Religion Offers Psychology’, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 1999, 9, 4, 229–49.

About the Series

Critical Concepts in Religious Studies

The Critical Concepts in Religious Studies series has continued to publish titles on the key subject area. Titles span across the religions and consider some of the most engaging areas of interest, including fundamentalism and ethics.

New in the series, Comparative Religious Ethics is a first of its kind collection. An area where a mass of scholars have now emerged, comparative ethics is an appealing field of study throughout religious studies departments.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Psychology of Religion