Dr Carissa Sharp

Dr Carissa Sharp

Department of Theology and Religion
Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • PhD, Social and Developmental Psychology, University of Cambridge, 2013
  • MTS, Christianity and Society, Harvard Divinity School, 2008
  • BA (Hons), Psychology and Religious Studies, University of Oregon, 2006


I am a psychologist of religion, primarily focusing on people’s perceptions of the relationship between science and religion and how people think about God. 

I have previously held positions as University of Oregon, Coventry University, and most recently Newman University, where I was associate director of the Centre for Science, Knowledge, and Belief in Society. I am currently co-investigator of the “Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum Global Perspectives project,” working on the social and experimental psychology research strand.

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise topics within the psychology of religion, including:

  • Perceptions of the relationship between science and religion
  • Social identities and intergroup relations, particularly relating to religion, nonreligion, and/or science
  • Stereotyping and prejudice
  • How people think about God (God representations)
  • The complexity of people’s religious ideas and/or identities


Within the psychology of religion, my research tends to focus on two broad areas.  The first is investigating perceptions of the relationship between science and religion from a social and experimental psychology perspective.  This has involved examining the roles of belief systems and social identities relating to religion, nonreligion, and science.  Additionally, my research investigates social cognition (how we think about the self and others), particularly focusing on how people think about God.  This research has implications for outcomes such as intergroup relations, stereotyping, prejudice, and mental health.  


  • Sharp, C. A., Davis, E. B., George, K., Cuthbert, A. D., Zahl, B. P., Davis, D. E., Hook, J. N., & Aten, J. D. (2019).  Measures of God representations: Theoretical framework and critical review. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
  • Davis, E. B., Granqvist, P., & Sharp, C. A. (2018).  Theistic relational spirituality: Development, dynamics, health, and transformation. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
  • Johnson, K. A., Okun, M. A., Cohen, A. B., Hook, J. N., & Sharp, C. A. (2018).  The LAMBI Scale: Development and validation of a five-factor measure of God representations. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
  • Johnson, K. A., Sharp, C. A., Okun, M. A., Shariff, A.F., & Cohen, A. B. (2018).  Predicting SBNR identity: The role of impersonal God representations, individualistic spirituality, and dissimilarity with religious groups. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2018.1445893.
  • Jong, J., Zahl, B. P., & Sharp, C. A. (2017).  Indirect and implicit measures of religiosity.  In F. Finke & C. Bader (Eds.), Faithful Measures: Applications in the Art and Science of Measuring Religion.  NYU Press.
  • Sharp, C.A., Rentfrow, P.J., & Gibson, N.J.S.  (2017). One God but three concepts: Complexity in Christians’ representations of God.  Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 9 (1), 95-105.
  • Zahl, B. P., Sharp, C. A., & Gibson, N. J. S. (2013). Empirical measures of the religious heart. In F. N. Watts & G. Dumbreck (Eds.), Head and heart: Perspectives from religion and psychology (pp. 97-124). West Conshohocken, PA: John Templeton Press.
  • Hodges, S. D., Sharp, C. A., Gibson, N. J. S., & Tipsord, J. M. (2013). Nearer my God to thee: Self-God overlap and believers’ relationships with God. Self & Identity, 12(3), 337-356.

View all publications in research portal