In brief, the Culture and Character Research Lab exists to study issues related to cultural diversity and the development of character virtues within a variety of ethnic, racial and cultural contexts.

Current Project

Multiracial Discrimination Among Asian-White and Black-White Christians and Religious/Spiritual Struggles


Expectations of Discrimination and Distress Among Black-White Christians

Mission Statement

The mission of the Culture and Character Lab is to seek wisdom and knowledge related to issues of virtue development, virtuous living and culture. It is our mission to use the resources available to us to shed light on the psychological, societal and relational processes of virtue development and the practice of virtuous living within specific contexts. Overall, we strive to use rigorous scientific inquiry to better understand individuals, societies and cultures and to, therefore, teach others how they may live a life that is glorifying to God. We seek to use the knowledge we gain to provide insight related to intervention, prevention, treatment, motivation and guidance for others. 

Values Statement

We believe that the Bible is the authoritative truth related to salvation and living a righteous (upright/godly) life.

We believe that scientific inquiry is a method by which we can better understand the world and the ways by which we might live more healthy lives.

We believe that who we are includes our cultural identity/identities and these affect how we engage with the world, others and ourselves. As we work to understand these complexities we can better determine ways to help individuals, families and communities relate, grow and thrive.

We believe that the development of character virtues is of integral importance in living both a godly and healthy life. However, various internal, interpersonal, spiritual, cultural and societal factors influence this developmental process and its outcomes and these processes can be studied.

We believe that science is limited and its findings are interpreted through individual worldviews, biases and experiences. However, we believe that, within our finiteness, we can attempt to make sense of and use the data derived from the studies we conduct to learn more about the world and people.

We believe that scientific inquiry must be approached with humility, with those involved having the utmost goal of seeking wisdom and knowledge rather than recognition and status.

We believe that when a conflict arises between science and Scripture, we must return to each to seek understanding and grapple with the conflict.

We believe that God’s spirit guides our research endeavors as we continually abide in him (John 15:4).

Foundational Scripture

Psalm 19
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Contact the Center for the Study of Human Behavior

Director of Research: Dr. Erin Smith
Phone: (951) 343-4502

James Building, Rm 123A
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504