Jesse Preston

Section 1

Division: Social-Personality

Assistant Professor of Psychology

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    423 Psychology Bldg.
    603 E. Daniel Street
    Champaign, IL 61820
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Research Description

I study the Cognitive Science of Religion with a focus on the conflict between science and religion.  For instance, my work has found that strong scientific explanations for mysterious phenomena (e.g., life, the experience of consciousness) can decrease religious explanations (e.g., God as creator, belief in soul). But when scientific explanations are weak, belief in religious explanations is increased,  what is sometimes called "God-in-the-gaps effect". 

More broadly, I am interested in conflicting attitudes and competition between moral goals. Along this theme I have conducted research on religious disgust, prosociality, political attitudes, and attitudes toward climate change. 


  • B.A. Psychology, University of Winnipeg, 1999
  • PhD, Social Psychology, Harvard University, 2005


Section 2


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