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Luke Galen

Luke Galen

B.A., University of Nebraska
M.A., Ph.D., Wayne State University
Office: 2220 Au Sable Hall
Phone: (616) 331-2904

Office Hours


Clinical Psychology

Courses Taught

PSY 311 - Controversial Issues in Psychology
PSY 316 - The Psychology of Human Intimacy and Sexuality
PSY 385 - Psychology of Religion
PSY 452 - Counseling: Theories and Applications

Scholarly/Research Interests

I am currently specializing in the field of the psychology of religion and irreligion. My recent work has examined religious fundamentalism, secularity, prosocial behavior, and social cognition. I have conducted projects focusing on the interpretation of religious versus secular prosociality, the influence of fundamentalism on attitudes toward animal rights and evolution, the formation of interpersonal impressions based on others’ religiosity, and the Belief in a Just World.  Also, I study non-religious individuals and secular groups as well as the process of apostasy.  I teach courses on counseling and psychotherapy, controversial issues in psychology and human sexuality and have an interest in the intersection of religion and sexuality.

Recent Publications

Galen, L.W. (2016). Commentary on Norenzayan et al.: The cultural evolution of prosocial religions. Big Gods: Extended prosociality or group binding? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 39, 29-30.

Zuckerman, P., Galen, L.W., & Pasquale, F. (2016). The Non-Religious: Understanding Secular People and Societies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Galen, L.W. (2015). Atheism, wellbeing, and the wager: Why not believing in God (with others) is good for you. Science, Religion and Culture, 2, 54-69. 

Galen, L.W., Sharp, M., & McNulty, A. (2015). The role of nonreligious group factors versus religious belief in the prediction of prosociality. Social Indicators Research, 122, 411-432.

Galen, L.W. (2014). Beyond prosocial (Commentary on Martin and Weibe, 2014). Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 2, 13-18.

Galen, L.W., Williams, T., & Ver Wey, A. (2014). Personality ratings are influenced by religious stereotype and group identity bias. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 24, 282-297.

Galen, L.W. (2014). Nonreligious and atheist emerging adults. In C. Berry & M. Abo-Zena (Eds.), Emerging adults’ religiousness and spirituality:  Meaning-making in an age of transition (pp. 237-252). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Galen, L.W. (2012). Does religious belief promote prosociality?: A critical examination. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 876-906.

Galen, L.W. (2012). The complex and elusive nature of religious prosociality: Reply to Myers (2012) and Saroglou (2012). Psychological Bulletin, 138, 918-923.

Galen, L.W., & Kloet, J. (2011). Personality and social integration factors distinguishing non-religious from religious groups:  The importance of controlling for attendance and demographics. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 33, 205-228.

Galen, L.W., & Kloet, J. (2011). Mental well-being in the religious and the non-religious: evidence for a curvilinear relationship. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 14, 673-689.

Galen, L.W., Smith, C., Knapp, N., Wyngarden, N. (2011). Perceptions of religious and nonreligious targets: Exploring the effects of perceivers’ religious fundamentalism. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41, 2123-2143.

Galen, L.W. & Miller, T.R. (2011). Perceived deservingness of outcomes as a function of religious fundamentalism and target responsibility. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41, 2144-2164.

Galen, L.W., Wolfe, M.B.W., Deleeuw, J., & Wyngarden, N. (2009). Religious fundamentalism as schema: Influences on memory for religious information. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 1163-1190.

DeLeeuw, J., Galen, L.W., Aebersold, C., & Stanton, V. (2007) Support for animal rights as a function of belief in evolution and religious fundamentalism. Animals and Society, 15, 353-363.

Books, Book Reviews, and Recent Publications

Zuckerman, P., Galen, L.W., & Pasquale, F. (Forthcoming co-authored book). The Non-Religious: Understanding Secular People and Societies. Oxford University Press.

Galen, L.W. (Forthcoming). Secular vs. Religious Effects on Prosociality and Well-Being. In P. Zuckerman and J. Shook (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Secularism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Galen, L.W. (under review). Religion, Morality, and Prosociality. In D. Wulff (Ed.) Handbook of the Psychology of Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Galen, L.W. & Beahan, J. (2013). A skeptical review of religious prosociality research. Free Inquiry, 33, 14-24. [Winner – Forkosch Award for best Free Inquiry article of 2013].

Galen, L. W. (2011). [Review of the book The Fundamentalist Mindset]. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21, 237-241.

Galen, L.W. (2009). Psychology of religious extremism. [Review of the book Bad Faith: The danger of religious extremism]. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9, 327-330.

Galen, L.W. (2009). Profiles of the Godless: Results from a survey of the non-religious. Free Inquiry, 29, 41-45.


I am the faculty advisor for the Center For Inquiry - Grand Valley Campus Group.