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NDSU psychology professor to be Cato Institute panelist

Photo of Clay Routledge

Clay Routledge

NDSU behavioral scientist Clay Routledge, professor of psychology, is set to discuss “The Search for Meaning in the Age of Abundance” during a panel discussion at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

The event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 14. It also will feature Cato Institute research fellow Jason Kuznicki. Marian L. Tupy, editor of, will serve as moderator.

According to Routledge, we live in an age of unprecedented prosperity, yet a recent psychological study found that anxiety is significantly more prevalent and impairing in high-income countries than in low- or middle-income countries.

Routledge argues that research findings are a warning that prosperous societies such as the United States are facing a crisis of meaning that may ultimately undermine liberty and prosperity.

“Affluence and liberalism benefit humanity by reducing material concerns and liberating individuals to pursue their goals, but they also uproot individuals from traditional sources of meaning like religion and interdependent communities,” Routledge said. “People who are uprooted from traditional sources of existential security can become psychologically vulnerable and anxious, demotivated and pessimistic. They can be attracted to extreme and dangerous secular ideologies, which all threaten the sustainability of a free and flourishing society.”

Routledge has published more than 100 scholarly papers and written two books – “Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource” and “Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World.” In addition, he has co-edited two books and is the lead writer of the TED-Ed animated lesson “Why Do We Feel Nostalgia”

His work has been featured in many major media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, ABC News, BBC News, CBC News, CNN, MSNBC, Men’s Health, The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Routledge is an occasional op-ed writer for the New York Times and National Review and has written articles for the Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.

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