Towards a Neuroscience of Spiritual Formation

Jun 16, 2022 | Pamela Ebstyne King | Faith & Science, Research Findings, Spiritual Formation, Video




About the Panelists

Headshot of Pamela Ebstyne King

Pamela Ebstyne King

Pamela Ebstyne King is the executive director of the Thrive Center and serves as the Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her primary academic interests are applied research at the intersection of human thriving and spiritual development. Dr. King’s work combines theology, empirical research, and community engagement to further understand what contexts and settings enable all people to thrive.



 Head shot of Mary Helen ImmordinoMary Helen Immordino-Yang

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is professor of education, psychology and neuroscience and director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education. She studies the psychological and neurobiological development of emotion and self-awareness, and connections to social, cognitive and moral development in educational settings. She uses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies of narratives and feelings to uncover experience-dependent neural mechanisms contributing to identity, intrinsic motivation, deep learning, and generative, creative and abstract thought. 


Head shot of Rodrigo Riveros

Rodrigo Riveros

Rodrigo Riveros is a postdoctoral researcher at the USC Center of Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education. He holds a Ph.D. in brain and cognitive science from USC. His research interest focuses on how adolescents construct abstract, generative, and moral visions for their adulthood, and how these general capabilities are expressed in life goals and civic participation, among other pursuits of self-transcendence. Rodrigo uses interdisciplinary research on life narratives and goal setting to uncover the neuropsychological mechanisms contributing to identity, intrinsic motivation, and purposeful thinking.


Head shot of Brad Strawn

Brad Strawn

Brad Strawn is the Evelyn and Frank Freed Chief of Spiritual Formation and Integration, dean of the chapel, and professor of clinical psychology at the Fuller Seminary. He holds degrees in theology and psychology, and has advanced training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Dr. Strawn regularly publishes at the intersection of psychology and theology. He is consulting editor of the Journal of Psychology & Christianity and associate editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology. He is a licensed psychologist, maintains a private practice in Pasadena, and is on the pastoral staff at Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene.

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