Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren

Director of the Frost Center for Social Science Research
Profile photo of Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren

Daryl R. Van Tongeren is an associate professor of psychology at Hope College. Before joining the faculty in 2012, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University for one year. His research focuses on the social motivation for meaning and its relation to virtues and morality. Specifically, he and his students adopt a social-cognitive approach to study meaning in life, religion and virtues, such as forgiveness and humility. His research has been funded by generous grants from the John Templeton Foundation.

Areas of Expertise

Daryl's research focuses on social psychological explanations for some of life's "big questions" — he studies the social motivation for meaning, the social cognitive function of religion and prosocial behaviors and virtues.


  • Ph.D., experimental social psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2011
  • M.A., experimental psychology, University of Colorado, 2006
  • B.A., psychology, Colorado Christian University, 2004

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Society of Experimental Social Psychology, 2020–present
  • Fellow, Midwestern Psychological Association, 2019–present
  • Fellow, International Society for Science of Religion, 2019–present
  • Association for Psychological Science (APS) Rising Star Designation, 2016
  • Towsley Research Scholar Fellowship (including pre-tenure sabbatical), Hope College, 2015–2019
  • Social Sciences Young Investigators Award, Hope College, 2014

External Research Grants

  • John Templeton Foundation, Using Intellectual Humility to Navigate Existential Challenges, 2019–2022
  • The John Templeton Foundation, Understanding the Nature and Consequences of Religious Deidentification, 2017–2019
  • The John Templeton Foundation, Developing Humility in Leadership, 2016–2019
  • The John Templeton Foundation, Earth as School: Finding Meaning, Relating to God, and Experiencing Growth After a Natural Disaster, 2015–2018
  • The John Templeton Foundation, Behavioral Measures of Humility in Couples, 2014–2016
  • The John Templeton Foundation, Making and Defending Meaning: Understanding and Reducing Tension between Scientific and Religious Meaning Systems, 2013–2015

Internal Research Grants

  • Nyenhuis Faculty-Student Collaborative Grant, Finding God in the Storm: How Disasters Affect Meaning in Life and Relation to God, 2017–2018
  • Frost Center for Social Science Research, The Flourishing Project, 2016–2017
  • Frost Center for Social Science Research, Advancing an Understanding of Beliefs about Evolution, 2014–2015
  • Frost Center for Social Science Research, Preliminary Studies on the Role of Meaning in Scientific and Religious Worldviews, 2013–2014

Selected Relevant Publications

  • "Religious Residue: Cross-cultural Evidence that Religious Psychology and Behavior Persist Following Deidentification," with C. N. DeWall et al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (forthcoming)
  • "Religious Identity and Morality: Evidence for Religious Residue and Decay in Moral Foundations," with C. N. DeWall, S. A. Hardy, and P. Schwadel, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (forthcoming)
  • The Courage to Suffer: A New Clinical Framework for Life’s Greatest Crises, with S. Showalter Van Tongeren, Templeton Foundation Press, 2020 
  • "Humility," with D. E. Davis, J. N. Hook, and C. V. O. Witvliet, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2019
  • "Worldview Conflict in Daily Life," with M. J. Brandt and J. T. Crawford, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2019 
  • "People Both High and Low in Religious Fundamentalism Are Prejudiced toward Dissimilar Groups," with M. J. Brandt, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2017
  • "Forgiveness Increases Meaning in Life," with J. D. Green et al., Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2015
  • "Combating Meaninglessness: On the Automatic Defense of Meaning, with J. D. Green, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2010

A full list of his publications can be found at darylvantongeren.com.

You can also find Daryl's published works at Digital Commons.

Outside the College

When he's not writing, conducting research with students or teaching, Daryl enjoys spending time with his wife, running, cooking and enjoying Lake Michigan. He can also be found reading novels, running long distances and cheering for the Denver Broncos.

Profile photo of Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren
Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren

Phone Number616.395.7432

Anderson-Werkman Center Suite 260 100 East 8th Street Holland, MI 49423
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