Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Christopher T. Burris

Christopher T. Burris

  • Media Contact

Early in my career, I focused much of my attention on research in the psychology of religion, and received the "Early Research Contribution Award" by Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) of the APA in 1997. Recent work in this general domain includes two recent papers that illustrate broad-based differences in the inner experiential worlds of atheists versus religious individuals, one that links (possibly hard-wired) tendencies to anthropomorphize inanimate objects to an expansive spiritual orientation, and two that focus on the implications of experiencing the self as timeless.

John Rempel (also at St. Jerome's) and I have enjoyed a productive collaboration as we elaborate and test Amoebic Self Theory (AST), which asserts that a person's sense of self is constructed and maintained via a multidimensional psychological boundary analogous to the enclosing, protective membrane of a one-celled organism. Our first series of papers focused on the self-protection aspect; we have recently completed a new series of studies that focus on the self-expansion or "engulfment" aspect, which appears rife with problematic social implications. We also continue to bulk up on research testing some of our ideas concerning love and hate before once again subjecting it to the peer-review gauntlet.

Other recent collaborations have allowed me to explore how people cope with the human condition of being trapped in linear time, and to conduct forays into the darker side of human experience, including attitudes toward date rapists and the link between symbols of "evil" and judgment severity. Papers on sexual fantasy, female body shape preferences of childfree men, and existential reactions to implicit mirror exposure exemplify the extremely diverse and rewarding academic partnerships with my undergraduate students that sometimes occur.

Hopefully, the net result of all of these explorations is an incrementally better understanding of some of life's "big" issues.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Close Relationships
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity

Journal Articles:

  • Burris, C. T. (2014). Torn between two lovers? Lay perceptions of polyamorous individuals. Psychology & Sexuality, 5, 258-267.
  • Burris, C. T., & Dow, T. (in press). Lost in the Myst?: Narrative video gaming decreases self-reported propensity for spiritual/religious experience. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2014.884393
  • Burris, C. T., & Munteanu, A. R. (2012). Preferred female body proportions among childfree men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 1431-1437.
  • Burris, C. T., & Petrican, R. (2011). Hearts strangely warmed (and cooled): Emotional experience in religious and atheistic individuals. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21, 183-197.
  • Burris, C. T., & Raif, K. (in press). Make-believe unmakes belief?: Childhood play style and adult personality as predictors of religious identity change. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. DOI:10.1080/10508619.2014.916590
  • Burris, C. T., & Munteanu, A. (in press). Greater arousal in response to expansive female pubic hair is linked to more positive reactions to female sterility among heterosexual men. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
  • Burris, C. T., Rempel, J. K., Munteanu, A. R., & Therrien, P. A. (2013). More, more, more: The dark side of self-expansion motivation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 578-595.
  • Burris, C. T., & Sani, F. (2014). The immutable likeness of “being”: Experiencing the self as timeless. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 24, 85-103.
  • Reesor Rempel, S., & Burris, C. T. (in press). Personal values as predictors of donor-focused versus recipient-focused organizational helping philosophies. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. DOI:10.1177/0899764014555989
  • Burris, C. T., & Rempel, J. K. (2004). "It's the end of the world as we know it": Threat and the spatial-symbolic self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 19-42.
  • Burris, C. T., & Rempel, J. K. (2008). Me, myself, and us: Salient self-threats and relational connections. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 944-961.
  • Burris, C. T., & Redden, E. K. (2012). No other gods before Mario?: Game preferences among atheistic and religious individuals. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22, 243-251.
  • Burris, C. T., & Schrage, K. M. (2014). Anxiety, social threat, and the diversion of sexual interests. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 21, 187-202.
  • Burris, C. T., & Schrage, K. M. (2014). Incognito libido: Introducing the Sexual False Self Scale. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 21, 42-56.
  • Petrican, R., & Burris, C. T. (2014). Transcendent experiences motivate “escape” from the body via intimate partnerships. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 24, 104-123.
  • Petrican, R., Burris, C. T., & Moscovitch, M. (2014). Shame, sexual compulsivity, and the eroticization of flirtatious others: An experimental study. Journal of Sex Research. DOI:10.1080/00224499.2013.829796
  • Rempel, J. K., & Burris, C. T. (2005). Let me count the ways: An integrative theory of love and hate. Personal Relationships, 12, 297-313.

Other Publications:

  • Burris, C. T., & Rempel, J. K. (2012). Good and evil in religion: The interpersonal context. In L. Miller (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (pp. 123-137). New York: Oxford.
  • Burris, C. T., & Petrican, R. (2014). Religion, negative emotions, and regulation. In V. Saroglou (Ed.), Religion, personality, and social behavior (pp. 96-122). East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Criminal Profiling
  • Dark Side of Sexuality
  • Psychology of Death and Dying
  • Psychology of Evil
  • Psychology of Religious Experience

Christopher T. Burris
Department of Psychology
St. Jerome's University
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G3

  • Phone: (519) 884-8111, ext. 28213
  • Fax: (519) 884-5759

Send a message to Christopher T. Burris

reCAPTCHA challenge image
Incorrect please try again
For security, type the characters shown above: For security, type the words:

Note: You will be emailed a copy of your message.

Psychology Headlines

From Around the World

News Feed (35,797 subscribers)