Justin L. Barrett joined the School of Psychology in 2011 as Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and Director of the Thrive Center for Human Development. He came to Fuller from the University of Oxford, U.K., where he taught and served as senior researcher for Oxford’s Center for Anthropology and Mind. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Calvin College, and served as co-area director for Young Life in Lawrence, Kansas.
Most of Dr. Barrett’s academic work has concerned cognitive scientific approaches to the study of religion; a new project in this area will be helping to extend cognitive science of religion to China, for which he won a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (2011-2014). His current research interests include cognitive, evolutionary, and psychological approaches to the study of religion; cognitive approaches to the study of culture and archaeology generally; and religious and character development in children and adolescents. Barrett’s main focus at Fuller is to work with others to develop the Thrive Center into a world leader for positive youth development—cultivating spiritual, character, and virtue development and general flourishing in childhood and adolescence.
Barrett’s publications include Psychology of Religion
(ed., 2010) and Why Would Anyone Believe in God?
(2004), along with the forthcoming book, Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology
. His most recent book, released in the spring of 2012, is Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief
. He has also published academic articles and book chapters across several disciplines.
Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching:
Cognitive science of religion, psychology of religion,
cognitive study of culture, positive psychology, cognitive development.