Edman selected to research cognitive science of religion

Dr. Laird Edman, professor of psychology at Northwestern College, was one of 15 scholars from around the world invited to participate in a Calvin Summer Seminar on the cognitive science of religion and Christianity. 

Edman and his colleagues are engaged in a three-year process of developing, executing and presenting collaborative and individual research projects in the cognitive science of religion—a new cross-disciplinary field which has, up to this point, included few Christians. The seminar, July 25 to Aug. 5, was led by Dr. Justin Barrett, senior researcher at Oxford University’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind and a lecturer in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. He is the author of Why Would Anyone Believe in God? and the forthcoming Cognitive Science, Religion and Theology.

Seminar participants designed their research this summer on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and will meet next seminar to discuss its progress. The research, funded by a grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, will be presented at a conference in 2013.

A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2003, Edman holds the Northwestern College Endowed Professorship, which provides annual funds to support his scholarly work. He received the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.

Specializing in critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and teaching and assessing critical thinking, Edman has published numerous articles and book chapters and made more than 50 conference presentations. He earned a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. He also holds master’s degrees in literature and counseling psychology from Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in literature from Luther College.