Principal Investigator

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD.

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD. is the PI of BABLab and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center at Duke University. Dr. Van Cappellen earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2012 from UCLouvain, Belgium. She then moved to do a postdoc with Barbara Fredrickson on positive psychology and psychophysiology at UNC-Chapel Hill where she became Research Assistant Professor.

Dr. Van Cappellen received the Early Career Award from the International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR) in 2017 and the Margaret Gorman Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association Div. 36 in 2019. She is currently Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal “Archive for the Psychology of Religion.” See her Researchgate profile.

Curriculum Vitae; Contact Patty Van Cappellen, PhD.

Study Coordinator

Megan Edwards

Megan is the Study Coordinator for the Embodiment of Worship project. She graduated in 2017 from Hope College with a B.A. in Psychology (Neuroscience minor). She wishes to continue to get a PhD. in Social Psychology studying experiences of suffering, religion/spirituality, and post-traumatic growth. Megan has a love for music and has played the French horn for the past eight years.

CVContact Megan Edwards.

Study Coordinator

Ruixi Zhang

Ruixi is the Study Coordinator for the Embodiment of Worship project. She received her B.A. in Psychology and English from Wellesley College in 2019, where she completed her honors thesis on the psychology of female characters in Shakespearean Tragedy. Particularly interested in the study of individual differences in empathy and emotion regulation, Ruixi plans to pursue a PhD in Affective Science. Ruixi also loves creative writing and often dreams of becoming a fiction writer one day.

CV; Contact Ruixi Zhang.

Research Assistant

Hannah Folks

Hannah Folks is a junior at Duke University majoring in Linguistics and Biology with a minor in Russian. She is interested in studying language and the brain. After graduation she plans to pursue her Master's in Speech-Language Pathology. Hannah enjoys spending her time dancing and is a member of the Duke Dancing Devils.

Research Assistant

Jordan Hepburn

Jordan is a junior at Duke majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Cultural Anthropology and French. He is interested in the real life applications of different belief systems, especially those of a religious or metaphysical nature, and their implications on everyday behaviors and thought processes. After graduation, he plans to attend nursing school and seminary. His favorite past times include basketball, reading, and intense philosophical discussions. He hopes to visit every island in the Bahamas, his native country.

Research Assistant

Maria Naclerio

Maria is a senior at Duke University majoring in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. She is fascinated by the question “what gives meaning to life?” and plans on pursuing a PhD in Psychology to find the answer. Maria is currently working on a graduation with distinction project examining how religious awe can elicit self-sacrifice. In her free time, she loves hiking, running, and SCUBA diving.

Research Assistant

Camden Nelson

Camden is currently a sophomore majoring in Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology and minoring in German and Medical Sociology. She is interested in studying human development and the psychological components of mental health disorders. After graduation, Camden plans to attend medical school to study to be a pediatric neurologist. In her free time, Camden loves to travel, go to the beach, or tent out in K-Ville for a basketball game!

Research Assistant

Gwyn Reece

Gwyn is a sophomore at Duke majoring in psychology. She is especially interested in social identities and the intersections of psychology with spirituality and law. After graduation, she plans to pursue law school or a Ph.D in psychology. In her free time, she enjoys running, traveling, and hiking.


Barbara Fredrickson, PhD., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Kevin Ladd, PhD., Indiana University South Bend

Mark Leary, PhD., Duke University

Dimitris Xygalatas, PhD., University of Connecticut