Category Archives: Awards

BABLab RA Cai Liu Wins Bruner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research!

We are proud to announce that Cai, one of the BAB Lab’s current research assistants, has won the highest award for undergraduate researchers by the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience! The Jerome S. Bruner Award recognizes a senior-year Duke student for excellence in psychological research activities, intellectual curiosity, and future potential for scholarly activity. Congratulations on this honor, Cai!

More information here.


Maria Receives Jerome S. Bruner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research!

Congratulations to Maria, the recipient of the 2019-2020 Jerome S. Bruner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research!

Maria has been conducting research at the BAB lab since Fall 2019. Currently, she is writing her honors thesis on awe with Dr. Van Cappellen.

For more information about her award-winning thesis project, please read:

American Psychological Association Div. 36 Award

Dr. Patty Van Cappellen received the Margaret Gorman Early Career award from the American Psychological Association Div. 36 and gave an address entitled:
“Religion/spirituality: From the mind to the body.”


I will present a summary of my own research that showcases the importance of studying religion as a practice in addition to a system of beliefs. First, I’ll discuss the fact that religious and spiritual practices (e.g., attending a place of worship, praying, meditating) are associated with the experience of meaningful positive emotions. To explain this association, I’ll specifically focus on embodied processes showing that the very body postures adopted in worship and prayer are associated with distinct religious experiences. I’ll then turn my attention to the implications of experiencing positive emotions in religious practice describing research on well-being and spirituality. Finally, I’ll briefly describe an ongoing investigation on the psychological and biological factors that amplify the positive emotions experienced in spiritual practices with attendant consequences for sustained adherence to these practices. Together, I aim to argue for the importance of moving the study of religion beyond the mind and for taking seriously the role that positive emotions play when experienced during religious and spiritual practices.

Early Career Award!

Congratulations to Patty Van Cappellen, PhD. for receiving the

Margaret Gorman Early Career Award

Recipients of this award have shown innovative research in the psychology of religion, marked by scholarly excellence, and has implications for theory, practice or further research. Dr. Van Capellen received her Ph.D. in Psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain in 2012. Her research in religion and spirituality has encompassed the topics of emotions, health, biology, embodiment, antisocial behaviors, as well as qualitative research with the Hebrew Bible. You can read more about her research on the psychology of religion and spirituality here.