Patty Van Cappellen, Ph.D.
patty [dot] vancappellen [at] duke [dot] edu

Patty earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2012 from the Univeristé Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She then moved from her home country for a postdoctoral position (with Barbara Fredrickson) and then a faculty position at UNC-Chapel Hill. Patty is an experimental social psychologist investigating such questions 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 their biological underpinnings. She is also investigating the mechanisms explaining religion’s link to prejudice and real antisocial behaviors. For more information on her work and publications see her website.

Outside of academia, Patty enjoys horseback riding, discovering new restaurants, and taking in the sun of North Carolina (Belgium is typically gray and rainy). You may also occasionally find her helping her husband who opened Belgian Waffle Crafters.