• 215 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
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Personal profile


Jonathan Jong completed his doctorate at the Department of Psychology, University of Otago, New Zealand in 2012, specializing in the role of death anxiety in religious belief. He then joined the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, working on two large projects—Ritual, Community, and Conflict and Religion’s Impact on Human Life—on the social causes and consequences of religion and ritual. He came to Coventry University in 2015, and is Deputy Director of the Brain, Belief and Behaviour group at the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement. His book, Death Anxiety and Religious Belief (with Jamin Halberstadt) is now available from Bloomsbury, Amazon, and elsewhere.

Research Interests

Death anxiety; Religious belief; Ritual behaviour; Social psychology; Experimental psychology; Evolutionary psychology

Vision Statement

My research interests are unapologietically anthropocentric. After all, human beings are endlessly fascinating. We worship gods, and build cathedrals to them. We hold strong moral beliefs, and construct complicated systems of reward and punishment to govern them. We fall in love; and out of love. We laugh at jokes, as well as in inappropriate occasions. And we do so much more. But why? What motivates human behaviour? How do evolutionary forces and cultural contexts shape us today? These are the sorts of questions that occupy my days, and sometimes keep me up at night. My research is driven by a curiosity about why human beings do the curious and amazing things we do.

External positions

Research Associate, University of Oxford

1 Oct 201531 May 2018

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2012 2018

  • 215 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
  • 23 Article
  • 5 Chapter
  • 1 Editorial
  • 1 Review article

Guest editors' foreword: On the importance of integrating terror management and psychology of religion

Arrowood, R. B., Jong, J., Vail, K. E. & Hood, R. W. 2 Jan 2018 In : Religion, Brain and Behavior. 8, 1, p. 1-3 3 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewEditorial

Idolizing the indexical: commentary on Van Leeuwen and van Elk

McKay, R., Jong, J. & O’Lone, K. 9 May 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Religion, Brain and Behavior. (In-Press), p. (In-Press) 3 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Relational mobility predicts social behaviors in 39 countries and is tied to historical farming and threat

Thomson, R. , Yuki, M. , Talhelm, T. , Schug, J. , Kito, M. , Ayanian, A. H. , Becker, J. C. , Becker, M. , Chiu, C-Y. , Choi, H-S. , Ferreira, C. M. , Fülöp, M. , Gul, P. , Houghton-Illera, A. M. , Joasoo, M. , Jong, J. , Kavanagh, C. M. , Khutkyy, D. , Manzi, C. , Marcinkowska, U. M. & 7 others Milfont, T. L., Neto, F., von Oertzen, T., Pliskin, R., San Martin, A., Singh, P. & Visserman, M. L. 29 Jun 2018 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115, 29, p. 7521-7526 6 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Self Disclosure
Self Concept
Social Support

Synchrony and Physiological Arousal Increase Cohesion and Cooperation in Large Naturalistic Groups

Jackson, J. C., Jong, J., Bilkey, D., Whitehouse, H., Zollmann, S., McNaughton, C. & Halberstadt, J. 9 Jan 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 1, 127

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access
Ceremonial Behavior
Cooperative Behavior

The fusing power of natural disasters: An experimental study

Segal, K., Jong, J. & Halberstadt, J. 31 May 2018 In : Self and Identity. (in press), p. (in press) 13 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

natural disaster
New Zealand