Van Cappellen Photo

Patty Van Cappellen is a Research Assistant Professor in the Social Psychology department at UNC-Chapel Hill. She leads the Morality, Spirituality, and Health Laboratory and is also closely working with the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab directed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson where she did her postdoc for 3 years.  Patty earned her Ph.D. in Psychology in January 2012 from the Univeristé catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She also earned a Master in Biblical Studies in June 2014 from the Faculty of Theology in Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Her main line of research is about the social psychology of religion asking questions such as “Why do people turn to religion or spirituality?” and “What are the psychological, contextual, and biological underpinnings of religion’s best and worst outcomes?” Currently, she is particularly interested in the study of self-transcendent emotions (e.g., awe, elevation), their relation to meaning in life and well-being, and their biological underpinnings. She uses experimental designs and quantitative analyses. She also does qualitative study of positive emotions in the Hebrew Bible working in the original language of the texts.

Visit Dr. Van Cappellen's  website.