Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Kevin L. Ladd

Kevin L. Ladd

  • Media Contact
  • SPN Mentor

I conduct most of my research in the area of the psychology of religion. In particular, I am interested in the topic of prayer.

We are currently working on a three year project funded by the John Templeton Foundation to explore what people tend to think about while praying, how people literally see the world in terms of spiritual importance, what people tend to feel while praying, and how people use their bodies while praying.

In addition to these studies, I also engage in work exploring the interface of science and religion, wisdom, music, ritual, health, coping, prejudice, psychometrics, physiology, neuroimaging, synesthesia, spiritual transformation, character development, personality, clergy and congregational performance/satisfaction, and magic.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Close Relationships
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

Online Studies:

Note from the Network: The holder of this profile has certified having all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to post the files listed below. Visitors are welcome to copy or use any files for noncommercial or journalistic purposes provided they credit the profile holder and cite this page as the source.

Image Gallery


  • Spilka, B., & Ladd, K. L. (2013). The psychology of prayer: A scientific approach. New York: Guilford.

Journal Articles:

  • Bryant, D. & Ladd, K. L. (2015). Lockdown legacy: Faith-based responses (or not) toward reintegrating ex-offenders. Journal of Prevention, Intervention, and Community Psychology, 43(3), xx-xx.
  • Esperandio, M. R. G., & Ladd, K. L. (2016). Oração e Saúde: Implicações para a Prática Clínica. In M. L. Fernandes, Espiritualidade, Saúde e Cultura: A Teologia nas Fronteiras, Juruá Editora, Curitiba, Brazil.
  • Esperandio, M. R. G. & Ladd, K. L. (2015). “I Heard the Voice. I Felt the Presence”: Prayer, Health and Implications for Clinical Practice. Religions, 6, 670-685; doi:10.3390/rel6020670
  • Ladd, K. L., Cook, C. A., Foreman, K. M., Ritter, E. A., & Mertes, S. C. (2015). Neuroimaging of prayer: Questions of validity. Journal for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7(2), 100-108.
  • Ladd, K. L., Ladd, M. L., Ashbaugh, P., Trnka, D., Harner, J., St. Pierre, K., & Swanson, T. (2007). Inward, outward, upward prayer and personal character. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, special section on Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, 18, 209-231.
  • Ladd, K. L., Ladd, M. L., Harner, J., Swanson, T, Metz, T., Haubold, K., & Trnka, D. T. (2007). Inward, outward, and upward prayer: Links to personality (Big Five). Archiv für Religionspsychologie, 49, 151-175.
  • Ladd, K. L., & McIntosh, D. N. (2008). Meaning, God, and prayer: Physical and metaphysical aspects of social support. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 11(1), 23-38.
  • Ladd, K. L., McIntosh, D. N., & Spilka, B. (1998). The development of God schemata: The influence of denomination, age, and gender. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 8(1), 49-56.
  • Ladd, K. L., Merluzzi, T. V., & Cooper, D. (2006). Qualitative and quantitative retirement issues for Roman Catholic priests. Review of Religious Research, 48(1), 82-104.
  • Ladd, K. L., & Spilka, B. (2006). Inward, outward, upward prayer: Scale reliability and validation. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45(2), 233-251.
  • Ladd, K. L. & Spilka, B. (2002). Inward, outward, upward: Cognitive aspects of prayer. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41(3), 475-484.
  • Ladd, K. L., Spilka, B., & McIntosh, D. N. (2011). Religion and the paranormal: Assessing Freudian hypotheses. INTERAÇÕES - Cultura e Comunidade,6(9), 105-120.
  • Ladd, K. L., Vreugdenhil, S., Ladd, M. L., & Cook, C. (2012). Interpersonal conversations and prayers: Differences of content and attachment functions. Journal of Communication and Religion.
  • Pössel, P., Aranda, B., Geist, N., Ladd, K. L., & Banister, A. W. (in press). Petitionary prayer: Immature but common in Christians? A descriptive and exploratory study. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion.

Other Publications:

Courses Taught:

  • Group Dynamics
  • History and Systems
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Motivation and Emotion
  • Personality
  • Psychology of Magic
  • Psychology of Music
  • Psychology of Religion
  • Research Methods
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Tests and Measurement

Kevin L. Ladd
Department of Psychology
Indiana University South Bend
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, Indiana 46634-7111
United States of America

  • Phone: (574) 520-5505
  • Fax: (574) 520-4538

Send a message to Kevin L. Ladd

Note: You will be emailed a copy of your message.

Psychology Headlines

From Around the World

News Feed (35,797 subscribers)