Justin L. Barrett

Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and Program Director for PhD in Psychological Science (non-clinical), Department of Clinical PsychologySchool of Psychology

Contact Information
626-584-5559
Education
BA, Calvin College
PhD, Cornell University

Biographical Information

Justin L. Barrett joined the School of Psychology in 2011 as Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and served as director of the Thrive Center for Human Development from 2011 to 2014. 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 recent project in this area extended cognitive science of religion to China, for which he was awarded a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (2011–2015). Barrett’s main focus at Fuller is to develop faith and science initiatives.

Barrett has authored more than 70 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).

Courses Taught

  • PG809 Psychology Teaching Practicum
  • PI533/833 Psychology of Religion
  • PI834 Evolutionary Psychology

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing

Cognitive science of religion, psychology of religion, cognitive study of culture, positive psychology, cognitive development

Publications

Books:

  • Trigg, Roger, and Barrett, Justin L. (eds.) (2014). The Roots of Religion. Farnham, Surry: Ashgate.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2012). Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion. New York: The Free Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011). Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology. Radnor, PA: Templeton Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (Ed.). (2010). Psychology of Religion. Vols. 1-4. New York: Routledge.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2004). Why Would Anyone Believe in God? Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Book Chapters:

  • Barrett, J. L., and Hornbeck, R. G. (in press). Experimental Methods. In H. Callan (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Barrett, J. L. (in press). Personal Evolution: Reconciling Darwinism & Evolution. In J. Stump (ed.), Evolving: Evangelical Reflections on Evolution. IVPress.
  • Barrett, J. L., and Jarvinen, M. J. (forthcoming 2015). Evolutionary Byproducts and Imago Dei. In M. Jeeves (ed.), The Emergence of Personhood: A Quantum Leap? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Trigg, R. (2014). Cognitive and evolutionary studies of religion. In R. Trigg and J. Barrett (eds.), The Roots of Religion: Exploring the Cognitive Science of Religion, pp. 1-15. Farnham, Surry: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2013). Exploring Religion’s Basement: The Cognitive Science of Religion. In R. Paloutzian and C. Park (eds.), Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Second Edition, pp. 234-255. Guildford.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Zahl, B. B. (2013). Cognition, Evolution, and Religion. In K. I. Pargament, J. J. Exline, and J. W. Jones (eds). APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality: Volume 1: Context, Theory, and Research, pp. 221-237. American Psychological Association.
  • Barrett, J. L., Alexandru Kiş, Alexandru Ilieş, Ross Lisman, Matthew Jarvinen, Christina Keys. (2013). Main Drivers of Human Action. In R. Surdu (ed) Human Aspects of the Operational Environment. NATO HUMINT Centre of Excellence.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2012). How We Conceive of the Divine. In J. W. Van Huyssteen and K. Chamcham (eds). The Templeton Science and Religion Reader, pp. 139-160. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2012). Toward a Cognitive Science of Christianity. In J. Stump and A. Padgett (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity, pp. 319-334. Blackwell.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011). Experiments. For M. Stausberg and S. Engler (eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion, pp. 161-177. Routledge.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011). Cognitive Science of Religion. In N. Azari, A. Runehov, L. Oviedo, P. Brugger, P. Duran, R. Paloutzian, R. J. Seitz, E. Borgman, J. Frye, J. A. Belzen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. Springer.
  • Barrett, J. L. & Knight, N. (2011). Cognitive Psychology. In N. Azari, A. Runehov, L. Oviedo, P. Brugger, P. Duran, R. Paloutzian, R. J. Seitz, E. Borgman, J. Frye, J. A. Belzen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. Springer.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011) Metarepresentation, Homo religious, and Homo symbolicus. In C. Henshilwood and F. D’Errico (eds.), Homo symbolicus, pp. 205-224. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Cohen, E. & Barrett, J. L. (2011). In search of ‘folk anthropology’: The cognitive anthropology of the person. In Wentzel vanHuyssteen and Erik Wiebe (eds.) In Search of Self: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Personhood, pp. 104-122. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  • Barrett, J. L., Leech, D., & Visala, A. (2010). Can Religious Belief Be Explained Away? Reasons and Causes of Religious Belief. In U. Frey (ed.) Evolution and Religion, pp. 75-92. Marburg: Tectum.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2009). Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology. In J. Schloss & M. Murray (eds.) The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Perspectives on the Evolution of Religion, pp. 76-99. Oxford University Press.
  • Emmons, R. A. & Barrett, J. L. (2009). The psychology of religion. In D. Matsumoto (Ed.). Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Emmons, Robert A., Barrett, J. L., & Sarah A. Schnikter. (2008). Personality and the Capacity for Religious and Spiritual Experience. In Oliver P. John , Richard W. Robins, & Lawrence A. Pervin (eds.), Handbook of Personality (3rd Ed), pp. 634-653. New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2007). Gods. In H. Whitehouse & J. Laidlaw (eds.), Religion, Anthropology, and Cognitive Science, pp. 179-207. Carolina Academic Press.
  • Gibson, N. J. S. and Barrett, J. L. (2007). On Psychology and Evolution of Religion: Five Types of Contribution Needed From Psychologists. In Bulbulia, J., R. Sosis, R. Genet, E. Harris, K. Wyman, C. Genet (eds.) The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques, pp. 333-338. Santa Margarita, CA: Collins Foundation Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2007). Keeping Science in Cognitive Science of Religion: Needs of the Field. In Bulbulia, J., R. Sosis, R. Genet, E. Harris, K. Wyman, C. Genet (eds.) The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques, pp. 295-302. Santa Margarita, CA: Collins Foundation Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2007). Theological Implications of Cognitive Science of Religion. In Bulbulia, J., R. Sosis, R. Genet, E. Harris, K. Wyman, C. Genet (eds.) The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques, pp. 393-400. Santa Margarita, CA: Collins Foundation Press.
  • Richert, R. A., & Barrett, J. L. (2006). The child’s god and cognitive development. The Encyclopaedia of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2005). In the Empirical Mode: Evidence needed for the Modes of Religiosity Theory. In H. Whitehouse & R. N. McCauley (eds.) Mind and Religion, pp. 109-126. Alta Mira Press.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2004). Bringing Data to Mind: Empirical claims of Lawson and McCauley’s theory of religious ritual. In B. C. Wilson & T. Light (eds.) Religion As a Human Capacity: A Festschrift in Honor of E. Thomas Lawson, pp. 265-288. Leiden: Brill.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2004). The Naturalness of Religious Concepts: An Emerging Cognitive Science of Religion. In P. Antes, A. Geertz and R. R. Warne (eds.), New Approaches to the Study of Religion. Volume 2: Textual, Comparative, Sociological, and Cognitive Approaches, pp. 401-418. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2002). Dumb gods, petitionary prayer, and the cognitive science of religion, in I. Pyysiainen and V. Anttonen (eds.) Current Approaches in the Cognitive Study of Religion, pp. 93-109. London: Continuum.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2001). Do children experience God like adults? Retracing the development of god concepts. In J. Andresen (ed.), Religion in Mind: Cognitive Perspectives on Religious Belief, Ritual, and Experience, pp. 173-190. Cambridge: Cambridge.

Refereed Journal Articles:

  • Barrett, J. L. (2015). The (Modest) Utility of MCI Theory. Religion, Brain, and Behavior, 43-45.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Greenway, T. S. (2015). Big Gods Can Get in Your Head. Religion, Brain, and Behavior, 4, 274-279.
  • Jucker, J.-L., Barrett, J. L., & Wlodarski, R. (2014). “I just don’t get it”: Perceived artists’ intentions affect art evaluations. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 32(2), 149-182.
  • Samuelson, P. L., Jarvinen, M. J., Paulus, T. P., Church, I. M., Hardy, S. A., and Barrett, J. L. (2014). Implicit theories of intellectual virtues and vices: A focus on intellectual humility. Journal of Positive Psychology.
  • Schnitker, S. A., Felke, T. J., Barrett, J. L., & Emmons, R. A. (2014). Longitudinal study of religious and spiritual transformation in adolescents attending Young Life summer camp: Assessing the epistemic, intrapsychic, and moral sociability functions of conversion. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6, 83-93.
  • Schnitker, S. A., Felke, T. J., Barrett, J. L., & Emmons, R. A. (2014). Virtue development following spiritual transformation in adolescents attending evangelistic summer camp. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 33, 22-35.
  • Barrett, J. L., and Church, I. M. (2013). Should CSR Give Atheists Assurance? On Beer-Goggles, BFFs, and Skepticism Regarding Religious Beliefs. The Monist, 93(3), 311-324.
  • Farias, M. and Barrett, J. L. (2013). Special Issue: New Trends in the Cognitive Science of Religion. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23(1), 1.
  • Hornbeck, R. and Barrett, J. L. (2013). Refining and Testing ‘Counterintuitiveness’ in Virtual Reality: Cross-Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counterintuitive Representations. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23(1), 15-28.
  • Schnitker, S.A., Porter, T., Emmons, R.A., & Barrett, J.L. (2012). Attachment predicts adolescent conversions at Young Life religious summer camps. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22, 198-215.
  • Clark, K. J. & Barrett, J. L. (2011). Reidian Epistemology and the Cognitive Science of Religion. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 79(3): 639-675.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011). Cognitive Science of Religion: Looking Back, Looking Forward. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(2), 229-239.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Burdett, E. R. (2011). The Cognitive Science of Religion. The Psychologist, 24(4): 252-255.
  • Cohen, E., Burdett, E. R., Knight, N., and Barrett, J. L. (2011). Cross-cultural similarities and differences in person-body reasoning: experimental evidence from the UK and Brazilian Amazon. Cognitive Science, 35(7), 1282-1304.
  • Jucker, J.-L. and Barrett, J. L. (2011). Cognitive Constraints on Visual Arts: An Empirical Study of the Role of Perceived Intentions in Appreciation Judgments. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 11, 115-136.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2011). Some Planets in Narnia: A Quantitative Investigation of the Planet Narnia Thesis. VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review, 27, online supplement. http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter/seven/sevenonlinearticles.htm.
  • Schloss, J. P., Barrett, J. L., Murray, M. J. (2010). Looking Past vs. Overlooking Cognitive Evolutionary Accounts of Religion: A Response to N Barrett. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 78(3), 622-628.
  • Clark, K. J., & Barrett, J. L. (2010). Reformed epistemology and the cognitive science of religion. Faith & Philosophy, 27(2), 174-189.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2009). The Relative Unnaturalness Of Atheism: On Why Geertz And Markússon Are Both Right And Wrong. Religion, 40(3), 169-172.
  • Barrett, J. L., Burdett, E. R., & Porter, T. J. (2009). Counterintuitiveness in Folktales: Finding the Cognitive Optimum. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 9, 271-287.
  • Gregory, J., & Barrett, J. L. (2009). Epistemology and Counterintuitiveness: Role and Relationship in Epidemiology of Cultural Representations. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 9, 289-314.
  • Barrett, J. L., Porter, T. J., Emmons, R. A., & Schnikter, S. A. (2009). Different Styles Reach Different Kids: An empirical enquiry into Young Life Camping Outreach Programmes in the USA and Europe. Journal of Youth and Theology, 8, 10-27.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2008). Coding and Quantifying Counterintuitiveness in Religious Concepts: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 20, 308-338.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Lanman, J. A. (2008). The Science of Religious Belief. Religion, 38, 109-124.
  • Hornbeck, R. G. and Barrett, J. L. (2008). Virtual Reality as a ‘Spiritual’ Experience: a Perspective from the Cognitive Science of Religion. Northern Lights, 6, 75-90.
  • Cohen, E. and Barrett, J. L. (2008). Conceptualising Possession Trance: Ethnographic and Experimental Evidence. Ethos, 36(2), 246-267.
  • Cohen, E. and Barrett, J. L. (2008). When Minds Migrate: Conceptualising Spirit Possession. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 8 (1-2), 23-48.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2008). Why Santa Claus Is Not a God. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 8(1-2), 149-161.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2007). Cognitive Science of Religion: What is it and why is it? Religion Compass, 1(6), 768-786.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2007). Is the Spell Really Broken? Bio-psychological Explanations of Religion and Theistic Belief. Theology & Science, 5(1), 57-72.
  • Barrett, J. L. and Malley, B. (2007). A cognitive typology of religious actions. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 7(3-4), 201-211.
  • Richert, R. A., & Barrett, J. L. (2005). Do you see what I see? Young children’s assumptions about God’s perceptual abilities. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15, 283-295.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2004). Counterfactuality in counterintuitive religious concepts. Brain & Behavioral Sciences, 27(6), 731-732.
  • Knight, N., Sousa, P., Barrett, J. L., Atran, S. (2004). Children’s attributions of beliefs to humans and God: Cross-cultural evidence. Cognitive Science, 28, 117-126.
  • Barrett, J. L., & Johnson, A. H. (2003). Research Note: The role of control in attributing intentional agency to inanimate objects. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 3(3), 208-217.
  • Barrett, J. L. & Richert, R. A. (2003). Anthropomorphism or Preparedness? Exploring Children’s God Concepts. Review of Religious Research, 44, 300-312.
  • Barrett, J. L., Newman, R., & Richert, R. A. (2003). When seeing does not lead to believing: Children’s understanding of the importance of background knowledge for interpreting visual displays. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 3(1), 91-108.
  • Malley, B. & Barrett, J. L. (2003). Does Myth Inform Ritual? A Test of the Lawson-McCauley Hypothesis. Journal of Ritual Studies, 17(2), 1-14.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2002). Smart Gods, Dumb Gods, and the role of social cognition in structuring ritual intuitions. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 2(4), 183-194.
  • Barrett, J. L., Richert, R.A., & Driesenga, A. (2001). God’s beliefs versus Mom’s: The development of natural and non-natural agent concepts. Child Development, 72 (1), 50-65.
  • Barrett, J. L. & Nyhof, M. (2001). Spreading non-natural concepts: The role of intuitive conceptual structures in memory and transmission of cultural materials. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 1(1), 69-100.
  • Barrett, J. L., & Lawson, E. T. (2001). Ritual Intuitions: Cognitive contributions to judgments of ritual efficacy. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 1(2), 183-201.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2001). How ordinary cognition informs petitionary prayer. Journal of Cognition & Culture, 1(3), 259-69.
  • Barrett, J. L. (2000). Exploring the natural foundations of religion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 29-34.
  • Barrett, J. L. (1999). Theological Correctness: Cognitive constraint and the study of religion. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 11, 325-339.
  • Barrett, J. L. (1998). Cognitive constraints on Hindu concepts of the divine. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 608-619.
  • Barrett, J. L. & Keil, F. C. (1996). Anthropomorphism and God concepts: Conceptualizing a non-natural entity. Cognitive Psychology, 31, 219-247.
  • Barrett, J. L. & VanOrman, B. (1996). The effects of image use in worship on God concepts. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 15 (1), 38-45.
  • El-Mallakh, R. S., Barrett, J. L., & Wyatt, R. J. (1993). The Na, K-ATPase hypothesis for bipolar disorder: Implications of normal development. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 3(1), 37-52.

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(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182


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admissions@fuller.edu