Kyle J. Messick, PhD


Kyle J. Messick, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Library Room 252
One University Boulevard
Bluffton, SC 29909
Office: 843-208-8327
Kyle J. Messick, PhD

I am a social psychologist specializing in psychology of religion and music culture studies. Within psychology of religion, I have researched atheism, the functions of the secular sacred, and I’ve studied prayer using novel approaches, including eye-tracking technology and a mock fMRI. I directed a documentary on the use of labyrinths as spiritual tools, and I assisted in a second documentary exploring the spirituality of buskers in Las Vegas. I manage the website for the International Association of the Psychology of Religion, and previously managed the websites for Division 36 of the American Psychological Association and The Religious Studies Project.

I taught at Coventry University in England for three years and Ivy Tech for nearly two years before joining USCB. I am an accomplished author, having been published in multiple books and journals including by reputable publishers Routledge and Brill, and my works have drawn media attention, as demonstrated by an interview with British tabloid The Guardian in 2020. I am a vocal proponent of open science practices and creating global opportunities for students, as shown by my service on the International Programs Committee. Lastly, I am a leader in studying metal music culture from a psychological perspective.

  • Education
  • Teaching
  • Research

PhD in Psychology. Coventry University 2020

MA in Social Psychology. Ball State University 2013

BA in Psychology. Indiana State University South Bend 2010

  • PSYC B101 Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC B200 Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSYC B220 Psychology of Religion
  • PSYC B331 Social Psychology
  • Nonbelief
  • The Nontheistic Sacred
  • Metal Music Culture
  • Collecting & Compulsive Buying Behaviors
  • How Violent & Misogynistic Imagery in Popular Media is Interpreted and Processed
  • Psychological Impact of COVID-19