Introduction to Div. 36's New Student Co-representative
Kirsten A. Lesage is joining Thomas (Tommy) J. Coleman III as the new student co-representative for Div. 36. Lesage has been studying psychology of religion and spirituality for several years, beginning as an undergraduate at Northwestern College where she obtained a BA in psychology and Spanish. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of California, Riverside working under the direction of Rebekah Richert, PhD.
Lesage completed an MA in psychology at the University of California, Riverside in June 2016, in which she examined children's ability to distinguish between improbable and impossible events across three domains (biology, psychology, physics), if children think a supernatural causal mechanism (i.e., God) can make an improbable or impossible event happen in real life, and children's justifications for why the event can/cannot happen.
Her general research interests are in the fields of cognitive science of religion as well as developmental and cognitive psychology. Her specific interests include the influence of cultural (e.g., religion) and cognitive (e.g., language development) factors on the way children develop concepts of possibility and causal explanations. She has co-authored two recent journal articles in Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion. One examined children's understanding of the function of actions associated with prayer (e.g., bowing head) and their anthropomorphic views of God. The other tested the relationship between children's understanding of the inflexible nature of religious rituals and their view of God's knowledge. She has also co-authored a third article, currently in press in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, which examines children's differentiation between God's mind and human minds.