Category Archives: Lab Members

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 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.


New Publication by Former BABLab Research Assistant!

Based on her honors thesis with advisor Dr. Van Cappellen during her undergraduate years at Duke University, Gwyn Reece has published her first paper!

Reece, G. A., Van Tongeren, D. R., & Van Cappellen, P. (In press). Eternal outgroups: Afterlife beliefs predict prejudice. Personality and Individual Differences, 214.


Both religious and nonreligious people hold beliefs about what happens after death. The eternal criteria embedded in afterlife beliefs – for example, what happens for the morally good versus the morally bad — may implicate intergroup attitudes and behavior in the present.


The set of 4 studies aimed to investigate whether and how afterlife beliefs have direct implications for real-life intergroup prejudice.


In Study 1, religious afterlife beliefs were associated with more prejudice towards nonreligious people. In extension, Study 2 used nationally representative archival data and found that among religious people, specific beliefs in hell and heaven mediated the association between religiosity and prejudice towards atheists. In Study 3, religious afterlife beliefs continued to be associated with prejudice towards value-threatening outgroup members, even when controlling for religiosity. This was shown in a specific context in Study 4: Christians with exclusionary views of heaven expressed more prejudice towards atheists than those with inclusionary views.


Together, these studies show that both religious and secular afterlife beliefs relate to prejudice towards value-incongruent outgroup members, consistent with the group exclusionary hypothesis. Specific religious afterlife beliefs, such as hell or heaven, explain some of the association between religiosity and prejudice against ideologically dissimilar groups.

Current and former BABLab members off to grad school!

This year was full of good grad school news for current and former BABLab members! All start in Fall 2023 and I look forward to a fun BABLab reunion next year at SPSP! I am very proud of these women whose talents will only shine further in grad school.

Amanda Bernal who is currently Lab Manager will (sadly!) leave the lab to go to the University of Arizona Social Psychology PhD Program under the supervision of Matthias Mehl. She is interested in researching the different relationships a person can have (romantic, familial, abstract (like with one’s God), and how language use can relate to the way people think, feel, and behave. She is also interested in examining these topics using novel methods (like the use of electronically activated recorders and ecological momentary assessments).

Abbie Clapp who was BABLab manager until recently will be doing a joint PhD in Social Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies at UW Madison in Dr. Sara Chadwick’s lab. She will be working on research topics related to sexuality and objectification from a feminist psychology perspective primarily using mixed methods.

Maria Naclerio who did her graduation with distinction with me at Duke (even got an award and publication out of it!) will go UCLA’s Social Psychology Ph.D. program to work with Dr. Naomi Eisenberger.

Kerry O’Brien who was my lab manager is going to the Basic & Applied Social Psychology Program at the CUNY Graduate Center and working with Dr. Catherine Good.

Wishing the best to Abbie Clapp!

Abbie Clapp, BABLab manager, is off to new adventures as a Data Analyst working for Wilder Research in Saint Paul, MN. Wilder Research partners with community organizations to research a wide variety of topics relevant to improving quality of life for people in the community, including community safety, education, public health, housing & homelessness, etc. Abbie will use her statistical chopsticks to clean and analyze data as well as consult with clients. She will be missed but we are thrilled for her!

Welcome Paweł

Paweł Łowicki is joining the Belief, Affect & Behavior Lab for the semester! He is a visiting graduate student from the University of Warsaw in Poland. He is currently doing research related to the psychology of religion, empathy and mentalizing abilities. See more about him on our People page.

Welcome Paweł!