Category Archives: Events

Learn what events are happening in BABLab!

Lab Highlights: RA Presentations

Happy (almost) end of term! As we finish up the Spring semester, we’d like to highlight some of the great work by our RAs. Rohan and Abby had the opportunity to present their analyses and results based on the lab’s work on empathy and compassion — more details below!

Rohan worked together with Meredith, a senior RA, to create a presentation for a study on empathy and the effect of a prayer framework. Rohan was also able to lead the presentation at a March lab meeting, where we discussed the results and the lab’s work!

Abby created a poster presentation looking at the cognitive effort of compassion among religious people, and the effect of a prayer framework. She presented at an April lab meeting and at the 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium!


Tabling During the 2024 Solar Eclipse!

On April 8th, 2024, our wonderful BABLab Members tabled at the BC Plaza as part of our IBRC (Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center) advertising and outreach efforts!

A big thank you to Rohan, Meredith, and Abby for recruiting out on the plaza! Not only was the recruitment a success, the team was also able to witness the 2024 solar eclipse together 🙂 Wishing everyone the best as we wrap up the Spring semester!


BABLab at SPSP 21!

In February of this year, two of our Research Assistants and our Lab Manager had the opportunity to present their research at the Religion and Spirituality Preconference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference! Although the conference was virtual this year due to COVID-19, our lab members were thrilled to be able to disseminate their work among other enthusiastic social psychologists. Read more about the poster presenters & presentations below:

Strength and Robustness of the Relationship Between Hope and Religiosity in the 2016 General Social Survey

Pranav Athimuthu & Patty Van Cappellen

Prior studies on hope and religion involve restrictive samples and do not control for confounding variables. To fill this gap, we examined data from a sample of Americans in the GSS (N = 1,426). Results show a small correlation between religiosity and hope that remains significant when controlling for other variables. Thus, we recommend expanding the current narrow conceptualization of hope.


To God All the Glory: Prevalence of and Ways to Express Gratitude to God

Kerry O’Brien, Patty Van Cappellen, & Sara Algoe

Gratitude to God (GTG) is a common feeling but understudied compared to interpersonal gratitude. This study adds needed data on the prevalence and content of GTG expressions when reflecting on a personal success. Participants write about a personal success, express gratitude, and answer questions on gratitude attribution. Lastly, they describe the various ways they show GTG in everyday life.


Confess While Raising My Hands? Comfort in Various Prayer Postures Across Prayer Themes and Emotions

Gwyn Reece & Patty Van Cappellen

This study(N = 84 U.S. Christians) investigates self-reported comfort praying in six postures varying on body’s orientation (upward vs. downward) and use of space (expansive vs. constrictive) when praying in general, about specific common themes (e.g., humility, thanksgiving) and when feeling certain positive and negative emotions. Findings show that prayer postures are meaningfully associated with the topics of the prayer and the emotions felt while praying.

SPSP 2020

Please join us at the 2020 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention in New Orleans, LA. BAB Lab will be presenting five posters at the Convention and the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Preconference. Here are the contents and times of our presentations:

SPSP Convention (Friday, Feb 28 and Saturday, Feb 29)

Friday, Feb 28, 1:30-2:30pm

Shaken to the core: A naturalistic study of awe’s effects on values, meaning, and religiosity.

Edwards, M. E., Perlin J. D., & Van Cappellen, P.


Saturday, Feb 29, 9:15 – 10:15am

Shades of expansiveness: Full-body expressions of joy, awe, hope, and dominance.

Van Cappellen, P., Edwards, M., & Shiota, M.

Religion and Spirituality Preconference (Thursday, Feb 27, 8:00am – 4:30pm)

Prayer postures associations with religious experience among Muslims, Christians, and Hindus.

Edwards, M. E., & Van Cappellen, P.


Examining the religious functions of awe through group cohesion and self-sacrifice. 

Naclerio, M. & Van Cappellen, P. 


The interdependence between prayer posture and religious mindset.

Zhang, R., & Van Cappellen, P.

SPSP 2019

BABLab will have the following presentations at the 2019 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention in Portland, OR.


Please join us at the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality preconference on Thursday, February 7th. Two of our presentations will cover current research related to our ongoing Embodiment of Worship grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Data Blitz

Embodying the Religious Experience: Full body representations of religion related feelings and prayer orientations.

Authors: Megan Edwards & Patty Van Cappellen, PhD

Poster Presentation

Are Postures Adopted During Church Service Related to Worship Experience?

Authors: Stephanie Cassidy & Patty Van Cappellen, PhD


Also! Poster Presentation from a visiting graduate student from the University of Warsaw, Poland

Religious belief and social cognition: The role of empathy and self-reported mind-reading skills

Authors: Pawel Lowicki & Marcin Zajenkowski


International Association of the Cognitive Science of Religion

Two presentations were given at this year's International Association of the Cognitive Science of Religion conference in Boston, MA.

The panel - Embodiment of Religion in Mind and Experience - was lead by Dimitris Xygalatas, PhD. and showcased two presentations related to our current research on the Embodiment of Worship:

"The Physicality of Religious Experiences: Relationships Between Body Postures and Feelings"    Presenter: Megan Edwards    Co-authors: Patty Van Cappellen, PhD & Stephanie Cassidy

"Influence of Religious Postures on Emotions, Humility and Image of God: Preliminary Findings"    Presenter: Stephanie Cassidy    Co-authors: Patty Van Cappellen, PhD, Kevin Ladd, PhD & Megan Edwards

Kevin Ladd, PhD. Brown Bag presentation

Kevin Ladd, PhD. (Indiana University South Bend, Department of Psychology) is joining us at Duke University for a Brown Bag presentation. Dr. Ladd is a consultant on our Embodiment of Worship grant. Come and hear about his research:

Labyrinths, mannequins, fMRI, and eyeballs: Toward a psychology of prayer

When: Friday, November 17, 2017 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Where: Soc/Psych building room 319

Dr. Ladd’s research interests include the interface of science & religion, prayer, wisdom, music, ritual, health, coping, prejudice, psychometrics, physiology, neuroimaging, synesthesia, spiritual transformation, character development, personality, clergy & congregational performance/satisfaction, magic.

Dimitris Xygalatas, PhD. Brown Bag presentation

Dimitris Xygalatas, PhD. (University of Connecticut, Department of Anthropology) is joining us at Duke University for a Brown Bag presentation. Dr. Xygalatas is a consultant on our Embodiment of Worship grant. Come and hear about his research:

What is ritual for? Psychological underpinnings of ritual behavior

When: Friday, November 10, 2017 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Where: Soc/Psych building room 319

Dr. Xygalatas’ interests include ritual, cooperation, and the interaction between cognition and culture. His research focuses on the application of scientific methods and technologies in ethnographic field research. You can find out more on his webpage here.