Luke Galen

Professor Luke Galen

Professor - Clinical Psychology

  • B.A., University of Nebraska
  • M.A., Ph.D., Wayne State University

Office: 2220 Au Sable Hall

Phone: (616) 331-2904

Email: [email protected]



Clinical, Social, Personality

Courses Taught

PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
PSY 311 - Controversial Issues in Psychology
PSY 316 - The Psychology of Human Intimacy and Sexuality
PSY 452 - Counseling: Theories and Applications

Research Interests

My main research focus is the psychology of religion and secularity.  I study mental well-being and prosociality as a function of religiosity. I investigate how and why individuals attribute the origins of their moral motivation to religious, as opposed to secular factors.

Recent Publications

Books and Book Chapters

Galen, L.W. (2023). A Social Cognition Perspective of the Psychology of Religion: “Why God Thinks like You.” London: Bloomsbury.

Galen, L.W. (2021). Morality, Prosociality, and Nonreligion. In Bloomsbury Religion in North America. London: Bloomsbury Academic. doi:10.5040/9781350971059.003

Galen, L. W. (2017). Secular prosociality and well-being. In P. Zuckerman & J. R. Shook (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Secularism.  (pp. 533-553). New York: Oxford University Press.

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

Galen, L.W. (2016). Beyond prosocial (Commentary on Martin and Weibe, 2014). In L. H. Martin & D. Wiebe (Eds.), Conversations and controversies in the scientific study of religion. (pp. 145 – 150). Leiden: Brill.

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.

Journal Articles

Galen, L. W., Kurby, C. A., & Fles, E. H. (2022). Religiosity, shared identity, trust, and punishment of norm violations: No evidence of generalized prosociality. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 14(2), 260–272. doi: 10.1037/rel0000320

Galen, L.W., Gore, R, & Shults, F.L. (2021). Modeling the effects of religious belief and affiliation on prosociality. Secularism and Nonreligion, 10, 6, 1–21. doi: 10.5334/snr.128

Galen, L. W. (2018). Focusing on the nonreligious reveals secular mechanisms underlying well-being and prosociality. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 10, 296-306.

Galen, L. W. (2017). Overlapping mental magisteria: Implications of empirical psychology for religious belief. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 29, 221-267.

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. (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., 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. (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.

Commentaries, Reviews, and Other Publications

Speed, D., Hwang, K., Galen, L. W., & Coleman, T. J. (2022). In Doubt and Disbelief: How Mrdjenovich 2018 Misunderstands the (Non) Religion–Health Relationship. Journal of Religion and Health, 61, 2319–2322. Doi: 10.1007/s10943-020-01109-1

Galen, L.W. (2020). “God’s not my type”: The Pew religious typology from a secular studies perspective. Commentary on the Pew religious typology report. Secular Studies, 2, 1-13. doi: 10.1163/25892525-bja10004

Galen, L. W. (2017). Which functions assumed to be religious and spiritual in nature are ultimately attributable or reducible to purely secular mechanisms? Religion, Brain, and Behavior, 7, 293-295.

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.

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. & 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.

Page last modified July 14, 2023