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'Thank you to God, for making me an atheist', quipped comedian Ricky Gervais in closing his infamous hosting of the Golden Globes. I could certainly identify with that, and as a group psychologists are famed for low levels of religious belief and affiliation. Yet huge swathes of psychology - mindfulness and positive psychology, to name just two areas - have a religious or at least spiritual feel to them.
In introducing this special issue on psychology, religion and spirituality, Joanna Collicutt points out that religion, if nothing else, is a profoundly human phenomenon, and therefore amenable to study by psychologists. And so it proves: we tackle religion from viewpoints of cognitive science, mental health, the history of faith, and therapeutic practice. We also meet a psychologist-theologian-priest who is a former President of the BPS.
Elsewhere we have a fascinating piece on 'probably the most divisive figure British Psychology has ever produced', Hans Eysenck; Richard Bentall in 'One on one'; and another 'Big picture' centrespread. In April some of you will be invited to complete an online survey to tell us what you think of new additions such as 'Big picture', and many other aspects of The Psychologist. Please do participate: your views really are vital in driving us forward over the coming years.
Dr Jon Sutton
Psychology, religion and spirituality
Joanna Collicutt opens the special issue
The cognitive science of religion
Justin L. Barrett and Emily Reed Burdett on religious experience and belief
Mental health, religion and culture
Kate M. Loewenthal and Christopher Alan Lewis on how well-being can be affected by religious practice and cultural context
Faith and psychology in historical dialogue
John Hall, Leslie Francis and Brendan Callaghan SJ on the roots and resurgence of interest in psychology and religion
Religion, spirituality and therapeutic practice
Adrian Coyle and Jenny Lochner offer some practical guidance
Reflections on psychology and religion
An interview with Fraser Watts: psychologist, theologian and priest
Methods: Does measuring people change them?
David P. French and Stephen Sutton call for more understanding of reactivity
Smoking; cognitive neuroscience funding; twitter debate; and much more
News and digest
Chronic fatigue; search dogs; well-being; neuroscience directions; alcohol guidance; the horror in dreams; and nuggets from the Society's Research Digest
Public engagement opportunities, with Kisane Prutton
The globalisation of the Western mind; stories of loss and growth; the myth of autism; and more
Managerialism and corporatism in league tables in the President's column; psychology and the HPC; and more
Careers and psychologist appointments
We talk to Deb Viney and Paul Webley from the School of Oriental and African Studies; featured job
Roderick D. Buchanan on the controversial Hans Eysenck
One on one
...with Richard Bentall