From a Christian point of view, an essential task of human existence is to develop one's personality by growing from negative experiences, progressing in the life of virtue, and thus becoming more and more a person in the image of God. The project's focus will be discovering connections between what many psychologists often call "personality growth" and what the Christian tradition calls "virtue development" or "spiritual growth".
Our Immersive Research Program (IRP) will allow theologians to acquire competence in empirical research methods in psychology. The joint leadership of a psychologist and a philosopher/theologian ensures interdisciplinarity. Participating theologians will be immersed in the process of designing, executing, and publishing psychological experiments. The output will be two two-semester-long immersion courses for theologians, content for an e-learning platform, 12 expert talks, 12 educational videos, 4 workshops, 2 research colloquia, 12 scientific papers, and an educational website (with high-quality learning videos) addressing theologians worldwide.
The psychological methods and topics used will be broadly situated within personality psychology, selected to facilitate a dialogue with theology. Successful cross-training is ensured by a hands-on approach in each step of the research process, and by the use of innovative teaching practices exclusively designed to immerse theologians into psychological research. Learning will take place in a variety of formats as we will use online learning and in-person teaching, for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
There is hardly any other country that has influenced Christian theology in the last 100 years more than Germany. While our IRP is international and will use the English language, it is uniquely situated in this rich and influential heritage. The leaders have an established track-record in managing large interdisciplinary projects, warranting successful completion of the present endeavor.