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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Fall 2004

PSY 341K • Psychology and Religion-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42605 MWF
3:00 PM-4:00 PM
NOA 1.116

Course Description

This course is designed to examine the interaction between psychology and religion. This interaction will be considered from a dual perspective. One focus will explore how psychology can illuminate our understanding of religion. We will address issues such as the the psychological parameters of religious belief and the development of religious belief and practice across the lifespan. A second focus will consider the ways in which religion influences psychological functioning, by impacting upon beliefs, behaviors and well-being. Two caveats should be offered. First, this course considers global aspects of religion, such as the development and influence of faith. It is not intended to analyze, contrast, or evaluate specific religious beliefs. Second, the bulk of theory and research in this area concerns Western religions; as such, these religions will provide the context for the class.

Grading Policy

Students will have a choice between doing one long 20 page research paper on a topic of their choice, or writing 4 5-page papers on assigned topics. In addition, there will be a final exam, having a take-home essay format. The papers will count 60% of the final course grade and the exam will contribute 40%.


Batson (1993) Religion and the Individual
Fuller (1994) Psychology and Religion
Smith (1991) World's Religions (Revised & Updated)
Spilka (1997) Psychology of Religion


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