Social Psych & Religion Postdoc & PhD opportunity

An outstanding opportunity from Dr. Vassilis Saroglou: Social psychological research on positive emotions and spirituality: Two research positions at the University of Louvain Two research positions, one for a Postdoc and the other for a Ph. D. student, in the (social) psychology of positive emotions and religion/spirituality are open at the University of Louvain, Department of Psychology, Centre for Psychology of Religion (www.uclouvain/psyreli). The positions are full time, last two years, start from October/November 2012, and imply working in Louvain-la-Neuve (University’s town). The research focuses on the understanding of the emotion of awe, comparatively to other emotions, and implications of awe for spirituality and related individual and social outcomes (humility and prosociality). It implies the use of experimental methodology typical of social psychology and psychology of emotions. The project is funded by a John Templeton Foundation grant. The monthly net is about 1,600 euros (PhD student) and 2,100 euros (Postdoc) and the fellowships additionally include social security. Publications in international journals are a prerequisite for the postdoc position applications. French is welcomed but not indispensable. Applications (CV and letter of motivation) are to be sent to Prof. Vassilis Saroglou (vassilis.saroglou /at/ uclouvain.be) by September 30, 2012. You can use the same email address for more information.


Survey on Spirituality

Helen Coleman, at Glyndwyr University, asks for your participation in her survey on spirituality. Please take a few minutes to respond to her questions at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XNWV2P6. Thanks!


Remembering Laurence B. Brown

Laurence Binet Brown, 1927-2011

Laurence Binet Brown was known for his several books in the psychology of religion. After completing his bachelor's degree at Victoria University (Wellington, New Zealand), Brown obtained his Ph.D. at the University of London, where he studied with Michael Argyle and Robert Thouless. His career featured extensive work in the psychology of religion, with many relevant books: Psychology of Religion (1973), Ideology (1973), Advances in the Psychology of Religion (1985), The Psychology of Religious Belief (1987), The Psychology of Religion: An Introuction (1988), and Modern Spiritualities: An Inquiry (1997). Brown also served as co-editor of International Journal for the Psychology of Religion at its founding. For his contributions to the field, APA Division 36 awarded him the William James Award in 1992. His career took him to many countries, from his native New Zealand to Australia and England. He also introduced Western psychologists to psychology in China, through his Psychology in Contemporary China (1981).

Psychologists interested in religion owe him a great debt. Brown's prolific career has left a significant impact on the field.


Religion, Brain & Behavior

The journal Religion, Brain & Behavior offers researchers and readers with thoughtful work on religion. It is the journal of the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion. The current issue has a target article on "Understanding atheism/non-belief as an expected individual-differences variable" by Catherine Caldwell-Harris, and commentary from 17 scholars, including William Bainbridge, Ralph Hood Jr., Lee Kirkpatrick, and many others whose ideas are worth reading.


Research Project: Teaching Psychology of Religion

Please spread the word about my new research project! With this we hope to answer some very basic questions about the Psychology of Religion course, and it is important that we have as many responses as possible from instructors. Here is the letter inviting participants to share their experiences with teaching psychology courses that deal with religion.

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I am Michael Nielsen, a professor at Georgia Southern University, and I invite you to answer a few brief questions about the Psychology of Religion course for my research, "Describing the Psychology of Religion Course". To the best of my knowledge, no research has investigated such basic questions as how often is the course offered? Does the course fulfill a requirement, or is it an elective? To what extent does the course emphasize empirical research vs. theoretical positions regarding religion? This study is intended to address these basic questions, and I would greatly appreciate your participation.

Participation in this research involves answering a brief series of questions, found following this informed consent statement. Replying to these questions indicates your agreement to participate in the study. The questions concern the course as you teach it, and the students who enroll in it, and are not expected to prompt any discomfort. The primary anticipated benefit of participating in the study is the opportunity to describe your course to others, and to add to the discipline's knowledge about the various ways that the course is taught. You will have an opportunity to request a summary of the results, if you so choose. I expect to submit the results for publication so that others interested in the psychology of religion may benefit from this study.

The questions are brief, and are expected to take less than 15 minutes. Your responses will be kept on a password-protected computer, and results will be described only in summary form. Please be aware that email affords only limited assurance of confidentiality due to the technology of the Internet. You may leave any questions blank, if you wish, or decline to answer all questions.

Your participation is voluntary; there is no compensation or stipend for participating in this study. If you have questions about this study, please contact me; my contact information is located below. For questions concerning your rights as a research participant, contact Georgia Southern University Office of Research Services and Sponsored Programs at 912-478-0843.

If you agree to participate in this research, please indicate so by clicking this link to the questionnaire. Or, copy and paste this URL to your browser:
This project has been reviewed and approved by the GSU Institutional Review Board under tracking number H12255.

Title of Project: Describing the Psychology of Religion Course
Principal Investigator: Michael Nielsen
Contact Information: P.O. Box 8041
Department of Psychology
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460


Associate Professors Less Happy than Assistant or Full Profs

If you are in academia, take a moment to read this report from Inside Higher Ed, detailing satisfaction levels of academicians. Being an associate professor can be more difficult once one has become tenured, as institutions sometimes offer reduced levels of support for research at the same time that service expectations increase. The overarching finding of this report is that on most measures, associate professors show lower levels of satisfaction or happiness than do assistant- and full-professors, who report roughly equal levels. This is true in terms of feeling appreciated and recognized; research support; service-related; and overall rates of satisfaction. Read more about the challenges of being a mid-career academic.


Creationism in Gallup Poll

The Gallup organization has released results of another poll on creationism, showing that 46% of respondents in the US believe that God created humans in their present form. The figure has remained relativey constant since 1982, when the question first appeared in a Gallup poll, varying from 40 to 47% during the past four decades. The poll may or may not reveal anything familiar to you, depending on your knowledge of past polls, but it still is worth reading this brief report.