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Jesse L. Preston, PhD (Associate Professor)

Jesse Preston



Psychology of Belief, Science and Religion, Climate Change Attitudes

Research description:

I study the psychology of belief, and what makes those beliefs meaningful. My research has explored concepts of mind and agency, God, political attitudes, and climate change attitudes. Broad themes in my research explore the relationship between ideologies, such as inter-religious conflict, and conflict between religion and science.

Accepting new PhD students

Representative Publications:

  • Rutjens, B. T., & Preston, J. L. (2020). Psychological Functions of Science and Religion. Chapter to appear in C. Routledge & K. Vail (Eds.) The Science of Religion, Spirituality, and Existentialism. Elsevier.  
  • Preston, J. L. & Shin, F. (2017). Spiritual experiences induce awe through the small self in religious and non-religious individuals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 70, 212-221.   
  • Salomon, E.S., Preston, J.L., & Tannenbaum, M. (2017). Climate change helplessness and the (de)moralization of individual action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23, 15-28.  
  • Preston, J. L., Ritter, R. S., & Hepler, J. (2013). Neuroscience and the soul: Competing explanations for the human experience. Cognition, 127, 31-37. 
  • Ritter, R. S. & Preston, J. L. (2011). Gross gods and icky atheism: Disgust responses to rejected religious beliefs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1225-1230. 
  • Preston, J. & Epley, N. (2009). Science and God: An automatic opposition between ultimate explanations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 238-241. 
  • Preston, J. & Epley, N. (2005). Explanations versus applications: The explanatory power of valuable beliefs. Psychological Science, 16, 826-832.

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Full list of publications (Google Scholar)