Luther senior Deihl selected to research how religion is related to individuals' decision-making and behavior

As various forms of religion exist throughout the world and have existed for thousands of years, research is attempting to understand the psychology behind why so many humans turn to religion and how religion impacts societies. Emma Deihl, Luther College senior of New Prague, Minnesota, is researching attachment to God, moral foundations, self-control and self-regulation for her summer research project at the college.

Deihl, the daughter of Lori and Kiffin Deihl, of New Prague, is a 2014 graduate of New Prague High School. She is majoring in English and psychology at Luther.

"My research has helped me to become more open-minded about political views and religious beliefs that do not necessarily match my own," said Deihl. "Rather than becoming too consumed by my own opinions, it is important for me to recognize the many factors that contribute to the formation of one's beliefs and challenge myself to see the world from multiple perspectives."

Deihl is working with David Njus, Luther professor of psychology, on her project "Attachment to God, Moral Foundations, and Self-Control."

The duo created a large survey, comprised of several smaller questionnaires, to measure self-control, self-regulation, moral foundations and attachment to God. With more than 1,200 responses to analyze, statistics are being used to help determine if individuals' attachment to God helps foster self-control and self-regulation behaviors. They also are examining how the moral foundations individuals use to arrive at moral decisions are related to their political decision-making.

The group's collaboration is one of 26 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars Program and Dean's Office. Luther's Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther's academic core.

The results of the project will be presented at Luther's Student Research Symposium in 2018 and will be submitted for multiple presentations at one or more psychological conferences.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: