Center for Psychology of Religion


The Centre for Psychology of Religion has as objective to study, from a psychological perspective (concepts, theories and methods), religion and religious phenomena as well as to promote interdisciplinarity between psychology and the human and social sciences of religion. The Centre was founded and directed by Antoine Vergote (1961-1987) and Jean-Marie Jaspard (1977-2001). It is currently directed by Vassilis Saroglou (2001-). Research carried out in the Centre (today and in the past) covers five main domains of psychology of religion:
  • personality and social psychology of religion
  • cross-cultural psychology of religion
  • psychology of religious development
  • clinical psychology of religion
  • interdisciplinarity with other sciences of religion
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Vergote

Antoine Vergote, a prominent and probably the most influential figure of European psychology of religion, passed away at age 92. Through an immense intellectual work he has shown the importance of putting into dialog psychology, psychoanalysis, and theology.

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hot sauce
Religious claims of “liking the sinner” (gay person) though “hating the sin” (homosexuality) seem not to be true. Using the paradigm of the hot sauce allocation as indicator of aggression, we found that religious people are prone to physically aggress a fictitious gay target who praised gay rights.
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mother teresa
Prosocial behavior as an outcome of religiosity has been questioned as unreal or only being a stereotype. In a recent experiment, religious people helped another person in need more than did the non-religious. This behavior implied some cost and was measured in a real life context.
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admiration small
Spirituality is not only a response to negative experiences; it also increases after self-transcendent positive emotions. This was shown for awe. New experiments show this is also the case with admiration and elevation, since they boost meaningfulness of life and benevolence of the world.
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Buddha
Does hetero-religious priming increase or decrease prosociality and outgroup prejudice? It depends on what is the culturally different religion. As shown in a recent experiment, religious ideas nonconsciously shape behavior in a different from the origin culture.
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blind man
In a recent PsyBull review, it was argued that the religion-prosociality link is a fallacy. However, careful and more balanced examination of the existing evidence suggests that, while limited and conditional, such a link exists; several psychological mechanisms may be responsible.
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adolescent religion
Adolescents’ religiosity is indicative of several positive outcomes but not necessarily of optimal development. Adolescence has been argued to be a “sensitive” period for spirituality; but it is also (or rather) a “sensitive” period for religious doubt and atheism, what may be adaptive.
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fundamentalism
Are fundamentalists antisocial or prosocial? It depends on the authoritative religious text they are exposed to. Prosocial texts make fundamentalists to want to help negligent people and even atheists; violent texts make them to be unwilling to help unknown people and atheists.
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| 22/10/2012 |
Center for Psychology of Religion
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scientific american mind-religion
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