Research Chat

Clay Routledge, Ph.D.

Arden and Donna Hetland Distinguished Professor of Business


Clay Routledge is a scholar for the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and the Arden and Donna Hetland Distinguished Professor of Business at North Dakota State University. He is the director of Psychology of Progress, a project of the Challey Institute, and an editor of Profectus Magazine. Dr. Routledge is a leading expert in existential psychology. His work examines how the need for meaning and related psychological motives influence and are influenced by cognitive, affective, and self-regulatory proccesses, individual differences, momentous life expericnes, personal and professional goals, social relationships, spirituality and religiosity, entrepreneurship, innovation, prosocial behavior, and attitudes about the future. He is an award-winning scholar who has published over 100 academic papers and co-edited three books. He is the author of two books, Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World, and the TED-Ed animated lesson Why Do We Feel Nostalgia? Dr. Routledge's work is frequently featured in the media, and he has written articles for outlets such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Harvard Business Review, and Entrepreneur. Other affiliations include being a senior research fellow at the Archbridge Institute and a visting fellow with the Mercatus Center's Program on Pluralism and Civil Exchange.

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Missouri - Columbia
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Missouri - Columbia
  • B.A., Psychology, Missouri Southern State University, 1999
  • Existential psychology
  • Nostalgia
  • Meaning
  • Human progress


Current Projects

Dr. Routledge is currently working on developing a new area of psychology that focuses on the cognitive, affective, self-regulatory, and motivational variables that promote or threaten civilizational progress. To this end, he recently launched the Psychology of Progress Project. He is also an editor for Profectus, a periodic magazine focused on creating a cultural and academic conversation around key drivers of human flourishing, progress, and the barriers that stand in the way improving wellbeing.




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