Principal Investigator

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD.

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD. is an Assistant Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute and in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Dr. Van Cappellen is also 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 was an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal “Archive for the Psychology of Religion” from 2017 until 2021. See her Researchgate profile.

Curriculum Vitae; Contact Patty Van Cappellen, PhD.

Lab Manager

Abbie Clapp

Abbie is a Lab Manager for BABLab. She recently relocated to Durham from Edinburgh, Scotland where she completed an MSc in Psychological Research with a Social Psychology focus. A proud Minnesota native, her undergraduate degree is from the University of Minnesota, where she majored in Psychology and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. She enjoys conducting research at the intersection of these two degrees, and hopes to pursue PhD study in Social Psychology, specifically utilizing feminist psychology to investigate topics such as objectification, sexuality, and body image. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, thrifting, and playing with her kitten, Beans.

Curriculum Vitae; Contact Abbie Clapp.

Amanda Bernal photo

Lab Manager

Amanda Bernal

Amanda is currently a Lab Manager for BABLab. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Amanda has relocated to Durham after completing her M.S. in Psychological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. Amanda is interested in the topic of intergroup relations (specifically romantic or familial relationships) and the various factors that come to foster or discourage them (i.e., cultural differences, motivation to control prejudice, etc.). In her free time, she enjoys watching Netflix or YouTube, talking to friends and family, and trying out different cuisines and restaurants.

Curriculum Vitae; Contact Amanda Bernal.

Post-Masters Research Assistant

Jesse DeLaRosa

Jesse is a Post-Masters Research Assistant for BABLab and a Biostatistician II for the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He recently completed a Master of Statistics from NC State University, where he also majored in Psychology as an undergrad. His research interests are in the intersection of intergroup perceptions and information processing, specifically how individuals process counterattitudinal information and the motives of individuals who agree with counterattitudinal positions. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, funny internet videos, and petting as many cats and dogs as possible.

Research Assistant

Pranav Athimuthu

Pranav is a junior at Duke University intending to major in Psychology and Political Science with a certificate in Decision Sciences. He is interested in exploring human decision making and behavior in the political, economic, and personal spheres through a psychosocial lens. Currently, he is working on a lab project exploring the relationship between hope and religiosity. Though he is not certain about his plans after graduation, he hopes to eventually pursue a career in academia to fulfill his passion for educating students. In his free time, he enjoys reading up on political theory, writing poetry, and drinking tea.

SPSP 21 Conference Citation:

Athimuthu, P., & Van Cappellen, P. (2021, February). Strength and robustness of the relationship between hope and religiosity in the 2016 general social survey. Poster presented at the Religion and Spirituality Preconference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology virtual conference.

Research Assistant

Bailey Davis

Bailey (class of 2022) is pursuing a double major in psychology and biology, and a minor in sociology. She is committed in understanding the relationship between the biological mechanisms of the human body and cognition, affect, and behavior. Upon graduation, Bailey hopes to continue her studies in graduate school by pursuing a doctorate in psychology. Bailey also spends her time as a committee member for DUU VisArts, a CARDEA fellow,  and a volunteer with both FEMMEs and GANO. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, and reading.

Research Assistant

Elissa Harris

Elissa is a junior at Duke University majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience and biology. She is especially interested in how the social systems in place affect mental and physical health. After graduation, she hopes to continue her studies in graduate school by pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. In her free time, Elissa enjoys making art, bingeing a good series, and traveling with friends.

Research Assistant

Camden Nelson

Camden is currently a senior majoring in Biology with a concentration in animal behavior and minoring in German and Medical Sociology. She is currently working on studying the effects that different postures can have on humility. After graduation, Camden plans to attend medical school in hopes of becoming a neurologist. In her free time, Camden enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and drinking tea.

Research Assistant

Gwyn Reece

Gwyn is a senior at Duke majoring in psychology and minoring in political science. She is especially interested in religious and political beliefs, identities, and prejudices. In the lab, she is working on a senior thesis on the relationship between afterlife beliefs and attitudes towards different groups of people. She hopes to pursue a PhD in social psychology after graduation. In her free time, Gwyn enjoys registering people to vote, spending time with her cat, and running through the Duke Forest.

SPSP 21 Conference Citation:

Reece, G., & Van Cappellen, P. (2021, February). Confess while raising my hands? Comfort in various prayer postures across prayer themes and emotions. Poster presented at the Religion and Spirituality Preconference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology virtual conference.

Research Assistant

Christina Wang

Christina is a sophomore at Duke majoring in political science. She is interested in studying the American political system, particularly political behavior and American electoral politics. After graduation, she hopes to either attend graduate school or law school. In her free time, she enjoys watching Netflix, listening to Taylor Swift, and hanging out with her friends, and she’s always working on a political campaign.


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