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.  


Recent publications


Sharp, C & Johnson, K 2019, 'Assessing spirituality on two dimensions: closeness to God and focal orientation', The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508619.2019.1633853

Sharp, C, Shariff, A & LaBouff, J 2019, 'Religious complexity and intergroup bias', The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508619.2019.1635856

Johnson, K, Sharp, C, Okun, M, Shariff, A & Cohen, A 2018, 'SBNR identity: the role of impersonal God representations, individualistic spirituality, and dissimilarity with religious groups', The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 121-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508619.2018.1445893

Davis, EB, Granqvist, P & Sharp, C 2018, 'Theistic relational spirituality: development, dynamics, health, and transformation', Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. https://doi.org/10.1037/rel0000219

Sharp, C, Rentfrow, PJ & Gibson, NJS 2017, 'One God but three concepts: Complexity in Christians’ representations of God', Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 95-105. https://doi.org/10.1037/rel0000053

Review article

Sharp, C 2019, 'Measures of God representations: theoretical framework and critical review', Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. https://doi.org/10.1037/rel0000257

View all publications in research portal