I’m a doctoral candidate studying the Psychology of Religion as a Lindamood Fellow with the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion and Boston University.

My interdisciplinary research combines the interpretative methods of religious studies with the empirical approaches of psychology. Colleagues and I use this method to better understand the ways religious beliefs, practices, and communities are shaped in the dynamic between biology, minds, and culture. On this site, you can find more information about my ongoing research and completed projects, along with my other writing and some resources I’ve found helpful along the way.



“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”             -John Dewey




Religion and Self-Regulation

Self-regulation describes the psychological processes that people engage when pursuing goals. For example, self-monitoring, valuation, and motivational processes all influence intentional action. This on-going project examines the various psychological avenues through which religiosity shapes these self-regulatory processes. I’m particularly interested in the ways that self-regulation plays a mediating role within other research on religion and health, and religion and cooperation.

Religion and Mental Health

This project explores the dynamic relationship between religious engagement and various forms of mental health. I analyze how religious engagement can create alternative interpretations of mental illness and how these interpretations then influence health behaviors. Colleagues and I recently concluded a qualitative study on religiosity, income-insecurity, and depression. I am preparing a new branch of this project that will address the relationship between religiosity and substance abuse.

Religion and Dual-Process Theory

Dual-process theory is psychological account of two different modes of thinking: fast/slow, intuitive/analytical, system 1/system 2, holistic/abstract,… The list goes on and that’s a huge source of confusion. This project works to untangle some of this confusion and constrain interpretations surrounding the relationship between religiosity and a preference for intuitive thought.




  • Morgan, J., Curtis, C. E., Laird, L. D. (2017). Stress and hope at the margins: Qualitative research on depression and religious coping among low-income mothers. Archive for the Psychology of Religion. 39(3), 205–234. [pdf]
  • Laird, L., Curtis, C., Morgan, J. (2017) Finding spirits in spirituality: What are we measuring in spirituality and health research? Journal of Religion and Health, 56(1), 1–20. [pdf]
  • Morgan, J., Clark, D., Tripodis, Y., Halloran, C. S., Minsky, A., Wildman, W. J., Durso, R., & McNamara, P. (2016). Impacts of religious semantic priming on an intertemporal discounting task: Response times and neural correlates. Neuropsychologia, 89, 403–413. [pdf]
  • Morgan, J., & Sandage S.J. (2016). A developmental model of interreligious competence. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 38(2), 129–158. [pdf]
  • Smart, K., Durso, R., Morgan, J., & McNamara, P. (2016). A potential case of remission in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 13(3).
  • Morgan J. (2016): Religion and dual-process cognition: a continuum of styles or distinct types? Religion, Brain & Behavior. [pdf]
  • Sandage, S. J., & Morgan, J. (2014). Hope and positive religious coping as predictors of social justice commitment. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 17(6), 557–567. [pdf]
  • Morgan, J. (2013). Untangling false assumptions regarding atheism and health. Zygon®, 48(1), 9–19. [pdf]


  • Morgan, J., Wood, C., Caldwell-Harris, C. (in press). Reflective thought, religious belief, and the social foundations hypothesis. In G. Pennycook (Ed.), The new reflectionism in cognitive psychology: Why reason matters (pg. tbd). New York: Psychology Press. [pdf]