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Featured Research

NU is committed to supporting innovation in research and scholarly contributions from faculty, staff, and students. New and existing projects are highlighted below to facilitate the sharing of academic activities and scholarly research conducted across the university. 

Project Summaries

Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, School of Social & Behavioral Sciences

The impact of the novel Coronavirus on the lives of people worldwide cannot be understated, and telehealth, while not new, has experienced an explosion of use both due to therapists’ needing to move their practices online for health and safety reasons, but also due to the increase in need for those experiencing mental health challenges during the global pandemic. The pilot project, Consumers’ Perceptions of Relational Telehealth: Proponents, Critics, and Diverse Voices, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Patricia Postanowicz and team, seeks to evaluate the experience of families who have participated in online family therapy prior to and during the health pandemic due to the novel Coronavirus. Project outcomes at the close of the study will assess consumer perceptions, provide guidance and information on diagnosis challenges, and provide both qualitative and quantitative research that support or refute the use of tele-health services.

Psychology Department, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Religious Cognition, co-led by Principal Investigators, Dr. Jordan Grafman at Northwestern University and Dr. Patrick McNamara at NU will explore and establish how the brain correlates various forms of religious cognition and experience. Project outcomes include a curated grant competition wherein McNamara and Grafman will call for and evaluate grant proposals from other researchers on the brain and religion; a series of fMRI neuroimaging studies on over 100 religiously diverse participants at the Northwestern site; and a series of studies handled by McNamara’s staff at NU where 150 participants will be recruited from Jerusalem, Chicago, and Boston for qualitative interviews and intensive daily data collection to be digitized and wirelessly transmitted to the NU research team. The overarching ambition of this three-year project is to gain a better understanding of the neural mediation of relational theistic belief as well as the brain bases of religious cognition more generally, and to influence the greater scientific community as we aspire to place the neuroscientific study of religious cognition on a firm scientific foundation.