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The Thrive Center is committed to providing relevant and accessible research of the highest quality. Our team is made up of seven faculty researchers from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and Fuller Theological Seminary, five post-doctoral researchers, and numerous doctoral students. Our center aims to uncover the catalysts that allow for young people to develop into thriving adults. We aim to develop practical tools and resources to nurture optimal human development by uncovering the components of thriving through research.

Research Spotlight

This page will provide a monthly, in-depth update on one of our many research projects. Coming Winter 2013-2014.

Research Projects

To learn more about the projects we are currently working on or have worked on in the past, please visit our “Research Projects” page. This page will provide you with links to detailed information and findings on all of our past and present projects.

Publications and Presentations

To keep the academic community up-to-date with the research that has been conducted within the Thrive Center, we have developed our “Publications and Presentations” page. Here you will find citations for publications and presentations on our various projects, as well as links when available.

Intellectual Humility

Our intellectual humility project, lead by Dr. Justin Barrett, is funded by a $5.3 million dollar grant from the John Templeton Foundation. We have put together pages to provide information and updates on the research being conducted on this project, along with each of its component sub-grants.

Thrive Center Research News & Articles

Religion in China: Is it Natural? Thrive Unveils Preliminary Findings at Hong Kong Conference

2014-04-23 10:24:38 gfoley

On Wednesday, April 23, researchers from the Thrive Center for Human Development, Boston University, and Chinese Academy of Sciences, among other institutions, will present initial findings from their research project “Is Religion Natural? The Chinese Challenge” at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.


“Although there is extensive research to suggest that human religiosity may be a natural byproductof human instincts, very little research has been done with participants drawn from predominantly secular environments,” said Thrive Center director and Chinese Challenge principle investigator Justin L. Barrett, Ph.D. “Our project does just that by examining whether Chinese share core psychological characteristics driving religious belief and how these natural tendencies towards religious belief are manifested in a largely secular cultural environment.”

Conference attendees will hear from and engage some of the worlds foremost experts on the “naturalness theory of religious cognition,” including Drs. Justin Barrett, Ryan Hornbeck, Liqi Zhu, Deborah Kelemen, Melanie Nyhof and Justin Gregory.

Full reports of The Chinese Challenge research are forthcoming as journal articles, books, book chapters and infographics.

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Intellectual Humility & Children: Do children know what they think they know?

2014-03-20 14:46:14 gfoley

Does a young boy really know how his dad’s lawnmower works if he says that he does? Does a little girl know that the Tooth Fairy is really going to come to replace her incisor for a dollar bill with no more evidence beyond that her parents told her so? Intellectual humility, the understanding that you do not know everything, is a virtue that is the topic of research driving the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) funded, The Science of Intellectual Humility Project. Kristina Olson and the researchers from the University of Washington, one of 19 institutions funded by the Thrive Center and JTF, is investigating the markers of intellectual humility for young children in a cross-cultural sample.

Recently, Psychology Today has published two articles by the University of Washington team about the development of intellectual humility in children. Read more about this exciting new research by clicking on the links below.

To learn more about intellectual humility and the unique projects being pursued by our grantees, visit our Intellectual Humility sub-site. Click HERE to read the abstract about Dr. Olson and the University of Washington’s project.

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Is World of Warcraft a Religion?

2014-02-20 07:25:03 gfoley
Photo Credit: KillScreenDaily.com

Photo Credit: KillScreenDaily.com

It is very unlikely that the lucky children who got to open an Atari 2600 video game console on Christmas in 1977 (or their parents) had a clue that the question of whether video games could become a religion would be a legitimate one some day. In our modern world, children as young as three or four learn to operate computers (cell phones and tablets) that are more powerful than those the astronauts used in the Apollo spacecraft.

Dr. Ryan Hornbeck of the Thrive Center has conducted research looking at how for some who play the video game World of Warcraft, the game is a way of life. Click Here to read the full article published online by KillScreenDaily.com to learn more about Dr. Hornbeck’s research.


Full Link: http://killscreendaily.com/articles/articles/feature/world-warcraft-religion-one-anthropologist-thinks-so/

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Reflectorium Recap - December 9th

2014-01-23 17:19:18 gfoley


December ninth marked the last THRIVE Reflectorium of the Fall quarter. Dr. Ryan Hornbeck, one of the THRIVE Center’s Post-Doctoral Research Fellows, presented his research that is part of the Templeton World Charity Foundation grant titled, “Is Religion Natural? The Chinese Challenge.”  Dr. Hornbeck’s presentation was based on a portion of this grant and focused on the ways in which “Moral Cognition Predicts Time Spent in Chinese ‘World of Warcraft.’”  Dr. Hornbeck takes the position of cognitive anthropologist as he asks questions such as why might this game (World of Warcraft) have moral significance and is this moral significance symptomatic of causal effects, connecting players to the game? Using Haidt’s moral foundations theory, Dr. Hornbeck hypothesized that game stimuli would activate care foundations; healers would score higher on cares measures and tanks would score higher on authority measures. He also hypothesized that the frequency of moral foundation activation will positively predict the amount of time spent in the game—people with high morals who receive a high moral experience through the game will want to play more.

If you are interested in participating in the THRIVE Reflectoria, the rest of the year’s dates are below. If you would like to present your research, please contact Kelsy Richardson at kelsyrichardson@fuller.edu.

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"Measuring Humility and Its Positive Effects" - Article By Intellectual Humility Grant Awardee

2013-12-13 00:17:02 gfoley

MadonnaHumilityLooking at the long list of researchers and institutions who are a part of the Thrive Center’s Intellectual Humility Project might lead one to wonder, “what’s the big deal here?” Don Emerson Davis Jr. and Intellectual Humility grant awardee, Joshua Hook shed some light on this question by highlighting the challenges that exist when studying the construct of humility.

Davis and Hook begin their article by stating that although there is a great deal of interest in researching humility (or a lack of humility), research on the topic has struggled in the past due to difficulties defining what humility is and how to study it. The authors argue that progress is being made through research and results have shown humility to be related to strengthened social bonds and better health outcomes, among several other findings. Humility might be a difficult construct to understand, but this article’s authors and the Thrive Center believe that it is a worthy topic of our attention with important implications for human thriving.

Click here to read Dr. Davis and Dr. Hook’s article, “Measuring Humility and its Positive Effects.” (Link opens in new window.)

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