Photo: J Routledge

Photo: J Routledge


"All animals fight for survival, but humans uniquely fight for significance. We don't just want to live, we want lives that matter."

Dr. Clay Routledge is an author, psychological scientist, consultant, public speaker, and professor. He studies basic psychological needs and how these needs influence wellbeing, physical health, and intergroup relations. Much of his research focuses on the need for meaning in life and the need to belong.

He has published over 100 scholarly papers, co-edited two books on existential psychology, and authored the books Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World. He was the lead writer for the TED-Ed animated lesson Why Do We Feel Nostalgia? 

His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, John Templeton Foundation, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Charles Koch Foundation.

Dr. Routledge’s work has been featured by many 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. Dr. Routledge frequently serves as a guest expert for popular radio programs and podcasts. As a social commentator, Dr. Routledge has authored articles for outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Scientific American, is an occasional behavioral science opinion writer for The New York Times, and writes a monthly column for Quillette.

You can follow him on Twitter @clayroutledge