Williamson’s new book explores psychology of fundamentalism

Dr. Paul Williamson

Dr. Paul Williamson, professor of psychology at Henderson State University, has published a new book he co-authored entitled An International Review of Empirical Research on the Psychology of Fundamentalism.

It is a sequel to his earlier book published in 2020, Conjectures and Controversy in the Study of Fundamentalism, and is his fifth academic book about the psychology of religion.

The new book, co-authored by Dr. Sarah Demmrich, offers a critical analysis of the massive psychological research on religious fundamentalism that has gathered over the past century.

“Fundamentalism is a concept describing religious groups that are committed to their sacred text, whether it be the Bible, Qur’an, or some other sacred writing, as the absolute truth and supreme authority for all matters of life and conduct,” Williamson explained.

“At the same time, fundamentalists reject all other sources of authority (such as higher criticism, science, and history) with truth claims that conflict with it.”

Williamson said psychology has studied fundamentalism for a century, “amassing a large empirical literature, especially since 9/11, but this research has never been systemized and reviewed as a whole, which is why my colleague and I wrote this book.

“Our aim was that it would be a convenient resource for scholars, students, and anyone else who has interest in what psychology has said about fundamentalism.”

Williamson has authored or co-authored numerous articles and books on the psychology of religion, and co-authored The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism with Ralph Hood and Peter Hill. He has made guest appearances on CNN, NPR, and various podcasts as an expert on the psychology of religion.

Williamson has been a psychology professor at Henderson since 2003.