Loren Toussaint

Loren Toussaint portrait
Professor of Psychology

Office: Valders 340F

Phone: 563-387-1647

Email: touslo01@luther.edu



  • Professor of Psychology, Luther College
  • Vice Chair, Forgiveness Scientific Advisory Council, Templeton World Charity Foundation
  • President, Forgiveness Foundation International
  • Associate Director, Sierra Leone Forgiveness Project
  • Visiting Scientist, Mayo Clinic, 2009-10

Education and Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, 1999-2001
  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1998
  • M.S. Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1996
  • B.A. Psychology and Social Work, summa cum laude, Southwest Minnesota State University, 1993
  • Google Scholar Site

Video links—Dr. Toussaint on Forgiveness

“Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken peoples’ curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good flammable stuff, it will catch” —Anatole France

I teach several courses at Luther, including:

  • General Psychology (Psyc 130)
  • Psychology of Forgiveness (Psyc 180)
  • Health Psychology (Psyc 241)
  • Behavioral Statistics (Psyc 350)
  • Stress, Coping, and Well-Being (Psyc 356)

Courses I have previously taught:

  • Careers in Psychology
  • Tests and Measurements
  • Senior Seminar
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Graduate Advanced Statistics
  • Graduate Multivariate Analysis

The main objective of my research is to broadly understand religious and spiritual factors, especially forgiveness, and how they are related to mental and physical health and well-being. I have published a number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and scientific book chapters, and authored dozens of conference presentations and invited talks in Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Greece, and the United States. I have been involved in forgiveness research in Australia, Chile, Germany, India, Korea, Lithuania, Spain, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Switzerland. I have worked with colleagues at Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Medical Center to understand the role of forgiveness in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, spinal cord injury, and substance use. I continue to seek new avenues in which to better understand and incorporate forgiveness in medicine.

Another central piece of my work has been ongoing since 2007 when I began a Peace Through Forgiveness initiative in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford University and the Dele-Peddle International school in Sierra Leone. This has now become known as the Sierra Leone Forgiveness Project. A week-long forgiveness institute was held at Stanford University in the summer of 2011 that stimulated on-going forgiveness workshops and research in Sierra Leone at present.

I direct the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit at Luther College, and have mentored dozens of students. Several of these students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed research papers and presentations. Recently the lab was awarded funding from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest for a project titled, A Collaborative Scholarship Model for Liberal Arts Colleges: Applications for the Psychology of Forgiveness. This work involves the collaboration of laboratories at Luther and Grinnell Colleges to investigate psycho-spiritual approaches to promoting forgiveness.

My research has been highlighted in a number of print, online, and radio media outlets such as: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Des Moines Register, Greater Good, Miller-McCune, Ladies Home Journal, Scotland on Sunday, Men’s Health, Psychology Today, and the Associated Press.