Justin L. Barrett

Justin L. BarrettCourtesy Fuller Theological Seminary

Justin L. Barrett is Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and director of the Thrive Center for Human Development in Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology. An experimental psychologist (Ph.D., Cornell University), Barrett taught for five years in Oxford University’s School of Anthropology, and is best known for his research on religion.


While at Oxford Professor Barrett helped establish and became the Director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, and the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. Early in his academic career, Professor Barrett served as an assistant professor of psychology at Calvin College and was a research investigator and visiting professor at the Institute of Social Research and the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan.


Professor Barrett is regarded as one of the founders of the field of the cognitive science of religion. He has authored more than 60 chapters and articles concerning cognitive, developmental, and evolutionary approaches to the study of religion. His interdisciplinary interests are evident in that he has scholarly journal publications in anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, psychology and even literary studies in interdisciplinary journals. His authored books are Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (2004), Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds (2011), and Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion (2012). He has also edited a four-volume collection Psychology of Religion (2010).