I study the beliefs that people hold most dear—the causes, effects, and experience of meaningful explanations. Much of my work has focused on the study of religion and belief in God, as these represent some of the most meaningful and important beliefs people hold. Religious belief can be used as an ultimate explanation, in that it has the potential to explain all phenomena, and as such carries great emotional significance and meaning. Broad themes in my research explore the relationship between ideologies, such as political conflict, climate change attitudes, inter-religious conflict, and conflict between religion and science.
- Attitudes and Beliefs
- Causal Attribution
- Culture and Ethnicity
- Ethics and Morality
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
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- Dijksterhuis, A., Preston, J., Wegner, D. M., & Aarts, H. (2008). Effects of subliminal priming of self and God on self-attribution of authorship for events. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 2-9.
- Hernandez, I., & Preston, J. L. (2013). Disfluency disrupts the confirmation bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 178-182.
- Morewedge, C. K., Preston, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2007). Timescale bias in the attribution of mind. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 1-11.
- Preston, J. (2011). Religion is the opiate of the masses (but science is the methadone). Religion, Brain, & Behavior, 1, 231-233.
- 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.
- Preston, J., Gray, K., & Wegner, D. M. (2006). The Godfather of soul. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29, 481-482.
- Preston, J. L. & Ritter, R. S. (2013). Different effects of God and religion on prosociality with the ingroup and outgroup. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1471 - 1483.
- Preston, J. L., Ritter, R. S., & Hepler, J. (2013). Neuroscience and the soul: Competing explanations for the human experience. Cognition, 127, 31-37.
- Preston, J. L., Ritter, R. S., & Hernandez, J. I. (2010). Principles of religious prosociality: A review and reformulation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, 574-590.
- Preston, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2007). The eureka error: Inadvertent plagiarism by misattributions of effort. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 575-585.
- Ritter, R. S., & Preston, J. L. (2013). Representations of religious words: Insights for religious priming research. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52, 494-507
- 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.
- Ritter, R. S., Preston, J. L., & Hernandez, J.I. (2014). Happy Tweets: Christians are happier, more socially connected, and less analytical than Atheists on Twitter. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
- Ritter, R. S., Preston, J. L., Salomon, E. S., & Johnson, D. R. (2015). Imagine no religion: Heretical disgust, anger, and the symbolic purity of mind. Cognition and Emotion. DOI:10.1080/02699931.2015.1030334
- Yang, Y. J., Preston, J. L., & Hernandez, I. (2013). Partisan attitudes toward the Ground Zero Mosque are reduced by high-level construal. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4 (2).
- Preston, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2009). Elbow grease: When action feels like work. In E. Morsella, J. A. Bargh, & P. M. Gollwitzer (Eds.), The psychology of action (Vol. 2, pp. 569-586). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Preston, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2005). Ideal agency: The perception of self as an origin of action. In A. Tesser, J. Wood, & D. Stapel (Eds.), On building, defending, and regulating the self (pp. 103-125). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
- Research Methods in Social Psychology
Berkeley, California 94720
- Fax: (217) 244-5876