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Investigating the roots, nature, and impact of virtues on human flourishing.

This priority includes four targeted themes:

  • Curiosity. We aim to advance two strands of research that focus on (1) the nature of curiosity and (2) the relationship between curiosity, intellectual humility, and open-mindedness. Drawing on research in psychology, philosophy, education, and other related fields, we are interested in questions such as: Is there a normative, developmental pathway for curiosity? How does curiosity interact with intellectual humility and open-mindedness? How can the motivational aspect of curiosity (i.e. eagerness to learn) be cultivated?
  • Gratitude. We aim to build on the growing field on gratitude by utilizing cross-cultural and developmental studies to create a robust evidence base for understanding gratitude.
  • Love. We seek to strengthen conceptual and empirical work on love with philosophers, psychologists, and theologians. We aim to draw together work across these disciplines to develop clear, empirically-assessable concept(s) of love. Using behavioral, biological, and self-report measures, we hope to gain insight into questions like: What are the core components of love? What is the human experience of divine love? How can we develop genuine love for others?
  • Virtues and religion. We will focus on opportunities for empirical research that addresses issues of definition, measurement, and individual and cultural variation. Topics of interest will include virtues enacted in relation to supernatural agents; the apprehension of, and responses to, the perceived moral attributes of supernatural agents; and the influence of spiritual worldviews on the development and practice of virtues.

Featured Grants

Human Sciences
Project Leader(s): Michael McCullough, Eric Pedersen
Grantee(s): University of Miami/ University of San Diego
Character Virtue Development
Project Leader(s): Sara Algoe
Grantee(s): The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Human Sciences
Project Leader(s): Peter Hill, Robert Emmons
Grantee(s): Biola University