Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren

Associate Professor of Psychology
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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

  • 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

  • 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, a Church-Based Humility Intervention, 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 Publications

  • “Self-regulation facilitates meaning in life,” with C.N. DeWall, J.D. Green, A.H. Cairo, D.E. Davis and J.N. Hook, Review of General Psychology, 22, 2018
  • “Meaning and death-thought accessibility,” with J.D. Green, British Journal of Social Psychology, 57, 2018
  • “People both high and low in religious fundamentalism are prejudiced toward dissimilar groups” with M.J. Brandt, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 2017
  • “The mediating role of meaning in the association between stress and health,” P.C. Hill, N. Krause, G.H. Ironson and K.I. Pargament, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 51, 2017
  • “Prosociality enhances meaning in life,” with J.D. Green, D.E. Davis, J.N. Hook and T.L. Hulsey, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11, 2016
  • “Humility attenuates negative attitudes and behaviors toward religious outgroup members,” with J. Stafford, J.N. Hook, J.D. Green, D.E. Davis and K.A. Johnson, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11, 2016
  • “Forgiveness increases meaning in life,” J.D. Green, J.N. Hook, D.E. Davis, J.L. Davis and M. Ramos, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 2015
  • “A meta-analysis of intergroup forgiveness,” J.L. Burnette, E. O’ Boyle, E.L. Worthington and D. Forsyth, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 2014
  • “Social benefits of humility: Initiating and maintaining romantic relationships,” with D.E. Davis and J.N. Hook, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 2014
  • “Combating meaninglessness: On the automatic defense of meaning,” with J.D. Green, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 2010

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

Schaap Science Center 1169 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423-3605
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