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. An experimental psychologist, Barrett taught for five years in Oxford University’s School of Anthropology, and is best known for his research on religion.
While at Oxford, Professor Barrett helped establish and became the director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, and the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. Early in his academic career, Professor Barrett served as an assistant professor of psychology at Calvin College and was a research investigator and visiting professor at the Institute of Social Research and the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan.
Professor Barrett is regarded as one of the founders of the cognitive science of religion field; 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). 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 has authored more than 60 chapters and articles concerning cognitive, developmental, and evolutionary approaches to the study of religion. His interdisciplinary interests are evident in that he has scholarly journal publications in anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, psychology, and even literary studies in interdisciplinary journals. His authored books are Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (2004), Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds (2011), and Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief (2012). He has also edited a four-volume collection Psychology of Religion (2010).
Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing
Cognitive science of religion, psychology of religion, cognitive study of culture, positive psychology, cognitive development