Directors

 

Catherine Caldwell-Harris

Director of Research

Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University, has conducted research in several areas within the cognitive and behavioral sciences, including psycholinguistics, cross-cultural psychology, and individual differences. She notes that everyday observations, as well as research, suggest that causes of individual differences in religious belief are a complex outcome of genetic temperamental predispositions, family upbringing, societal values, and idiosyncratic life experiences. In one of Dr. Caldwell-Harris’ studies, atheists reported finding as much meaning in life as did religious persons, but they eschewed terms related to supernaturalism (like ‘spiritual’), and focused their moral concerns on the pragmatic here-and-now. Dr. Caldwell-Harris has also studied low religious belief in individuals with Asperger Syndrome. Dr. Caldwell-Harris is developing a new project to study religious doubt in Turkey, a country where she has long conducted research on topics including bilingualism and individualism-collectivism.

 Patrick McNamara

Founding Director

Neuroscientist Patrick McNamara has worked for some years on Parkinson’s Disease and conducted research on sleep and dreams. He is involved in a number of research projects having to do with the scientific study of religion (see the Institute Activities pages for details). His landmark three-volume collection of essays on the scientific study of religion is well known: Where God and Science Meet. More information about Patrick is available here.

 

 Wesley J. Wildman

Founding Director and Executive Director

Philosopher of Religion Wesley Wildman has worked on many aspects of science and religion. He is particularly interested in what light can be shed on religious behaviors, beliefs, and experiences from the biological and human sciences. Director of Boston University’s innovative humanities-science doctoral program in Religion and Science, he is deeply committed to multidisciplinary research and training. More information about Wesley is available here.