Principal Investigator

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD.

Patty Van Cappellen, PhD. is a Research Professor, 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.

Lab Manager

Kerry O'Brien

Kerry is the Lab Manager for the Belief, Affect, and Behavior Lab. She graduated in 2020 from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Psychology, minoring in Gender Studies. She hopes to pursue a PhD. in social psychology, studying gender issues in education, workplaces, the home, and more. In her spare time, Kerry loves to work on sewing projects and to re-read her favorite books.

Curriculum Vitae; Contact Kerry O'Brien.

SPSP 21 Conference Citation:

O’Brien, K. A., Van Cappellen, P., & Algoe, S. (2021, February). To God all the glory: Prevalence of and ways to express gratitude to God. Poster presented at the Religion and Spirituality Preconference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology virtual conference.

Research Assistant

Pranav Athimuthu

Pranav is a sophomore 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

Aaliyah Butcher

Aaliyah Butcher is a senior majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology. Her love for science and dance has fueled her interest in the connection between the mind and the body. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the pre-health field. In her free time, Aaliyah likes dancing and event planning.

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

Tessa Delgo

Tessa is currently a sophomore who has yet to officially decide what she's studying, but she is deeply interested in psychology, anthropology, and history. She is especially interested in body politics and how cultural perceptions of beauty impact social inequalities. After graduation, she hopes to become some kind of academic clinician. For now, though, she enjoys doing yoga, making art, writing about art and artists for The Chronicle, and watching terrible reality television with her friends.

Research Assistant

Daniel DeVault

Daniel is a junior at Duke University majoring in Psychology and completing the certificate program in Human Rights. He is especially interested in studying and working with children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. After graduation, he hopes to continue his studies in graduate school by pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. Daniel also spends his time as the mental health chair of his fraternity and serving as a volunteer to get out the vote for the upcoming general election. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike, listening to podcasts, and FaceTiming his distant friends.

Research Assistant

Camden Nelson

Camden is currently a junior 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 junior at Duke majoring in psychology and minoring in political science. She is especially interested in studying social identities and the intersections of psychology with law and politics. After graduation, she plans to pursue law school or a Ph.D in psychology. In her free time, Gwyn enjoys reading, biking, 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

Naima Turbes

Naima is a sophomore double majoring in Neuroscience and Public Policy. She is passionate about understanding brain mechanisms behind social behavior. After graduation, she hopes to become a neurosurgeon and pursue work advocating for more equitable health policies. She is also a member of Duke's cross country and track and field teams. Outside of school and sports, she enjoys writing and editing for The Chronicle, baking, traveling, and coffee.


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