• My Research Team

    My Research Team: Bailey, Betsy, Lexi, Hailee, Logan, Jaimie, and me

Research

Research Interests

I almost always involve Luther psychology majors/minors as research collaborators in my research projects (see list of articles and presentations below for current and former student research collaborators). My current research interests span several different areas. 

Attachment

Adult attachment—its origins and its consequences—is a research interest of mine related to my teaching in both social and developmental psychology. I especially am interested in the evolved genesis of attachment relationships, and how different kinds of attachment relationships can be adaptive.  

Psychology of Religion

My interest in the psychology of religion dovetails with my interest in adult attachment. Specifically, I am interested in the notion of God as an attachment figure. Recent research has suggested that for those who believe in God, God can serve as a “secure base” to whom we turn in times of trouble or anxiety, much as we turn to human loved ones (children to parents, adults to friends or romantic partners) in times of stress. My current research in this area is exploring how attachment to God is similar to and different from more standard types of adult attachment.

Political Psychology

A third area of research I am currently exploring involves the “motivated” nature of political belief and opinion. Most of us probably assume that the political beliefs we have stem from reasoned analysis and thoughtful reflection. Some research suggests, however, that in addition to rational contemplation there may be a motivated desire to arrive at certain kinds of answers to political questions. My research involves an exploration of this process, and whether or not different political orientations are motivated in similar or different ways.

Selected Articles and Conference Presentations (Collaborative Projects with Students: Bolded names are current or past Luther College student colleagues)

Njus, D., & Okerstrom, K.  (2014, May).  Liberal-conservative differences on moral foundations and social/political values.  Presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the  Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.   MPA 2104 Okerstrom and Njus Katrina and I presenting at MPA in Chicago, 2014

Okerstrom, K., & Njus, D. M.  (2014, May). Morality foundation differences among atheists, agnostics, and theists.  Presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Tjossem, A. T., Njus, D. M., Kochendorfer, L., & Kampa, B.  (2014, May). Moral foundations predict mating preferences in men and women.  Presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.MPA 2014 Kampa, Kochendorfer, Njus, and OkerstromBailey, Logan, Katrina and I at Palmer House Hilton, MPA 2014

Njus, D., & Hodapp, R.  (2013, May). Political orientation and beliefs about liberty, justice, and personal responsibility.  Presented at the Spring 2013 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association. 

Njus, D., Tjossem, A., & Godar, H.  (2013, May). Parental attachment, adult attachment, and desired number of sexual partners.  Presented at the Spring 2013 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., Godar, H., & Tjossem, A.  (2012, May).  Avoidant attachment mediates the relationship between parental attachment and short-term mating desire.  Presented at the Spring 2012 annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science.

Njus, D., Hodapp, R.  (2012, May).  Political orientation, the correspondence bias, and attributuions of wrongdoing.  Presented at the Spring 2012 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D.M.,  Okerstrom, K., & Stuart, K.  (2012, May).  Mortality salience, self-esteem, and attachment to adults and God.  Presented at the Spring 2012 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological  Association.

Njus, D., Tjossem, A., McKee, B., & Godar, H.  (2011, May) Adult attachment and mate-seeking preferences.  Presented at the Spring 2011 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological  Association.

 Njus, D., Bane, C. M., & Delikowski, L.  (2010, May).  Working model correspondence between adult attachment and attachment to God. Presented at the Spring 2010 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., & Bane, C.  (2009).  Religious identification as a moderator of evolved sexual strategies of men and women.  Journal of Sex Research, 46, 546-557.

Njus, D. M., & Ironside, E.  (2009). Political orientation and motivated social cognition. Presented at the Spring 2009 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., & Johnson, D.  (2008).  Need for cognition as a predictor of psychosocial identity development.   The Journal of Psychology:  Interdisciplinary and Applied, 142, 645-655.

Njus, D., Bane, C. M., Meyer, B., & Betterman, C.  (2007, May). Does religiosity moderate evolved sexual strategies of men and women? Presented at the Spring 2007 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., Bane, C., Barnes, S, Bingner, J. Schmidt, T., & Wiedeman, R.  (2006, May). Republicans, Democrats, and financial assistance for those in need.  Presented at the Spring 2006 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Schmidt, T. M., & Njus, D. M.  (2006, May). Sexism, sex-roles, and need for cognition. Presented at the Spring 2006 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Wagaman, J., Erspamer, N., Bane, C., & Njus, D.  (2006, May). The relationship between behavioral regulation exercise motives and body image. Presented at the Spring 2006 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., Bane, C. M., Neve, K., & Ingber, K.  (2004, May). Religious identification as a moderator of evolved sexual strategies of men and women. Presented at the Spring 2004 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., and Johnson, D.  (2003, May). Psychosocial identity development as a function of need for cognition. Presented at the Spring 2003 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D., Robinson, S., Veltri, C, ,& Mika, G.  (2003, May). Political orientation and contributions to charity: The mediating role of need for cognition. Presented at the Spring 2003 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Njus, D. & Johnson, D.  (2002, May) Need for cognition and psychosocial identity development. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago, IL,  May 1-4, 2002.

Njus, D., & Brockway, J. H.  (1999). Perceptions of competence and locus of control for positive and negative outcomes: Predicting depression and adjustment to college. Personality and Individual Differences, 26, 531-548.

Njus, D., Nitschke, W., & Bryant, F. B. (1996). Positive affect, negative affect, and the moderating effect of writing on sIgA antibody levels. Psychology and Health, 12, pp. 135-148.