Prof. Morris has held the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology since December, 1985. He holds a BSc in Psychology (1963) from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in Psychology (1969) from Duke University (minor in Zoology). His specialist training was in Comparative Psychology, and his doctoral thesis was on "Factors affecting the maintenance of the pair bond in the Blond Ring Dove, Streptopelia risoria". He also received training in parapsychology from the Foundation for the Nature of Man in Durham,
Following this he did two years of postdoctoral research at Duke University Gerontology Center,
followed by full time posts at the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham
North Carolina, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of
California at Irvine and Syracuse University, before coming to
University of Edinburgh in 1985. He has also taught individual courses at JFK University and University of Southern California, as well as honours seminars at Duke University.
He has developed and taught over twenty different courses covering both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and has taught sections of several more. During his time at Edinburgh he has had seventeen students complete PhD's under his supervision and has served as second or external supervisor for several more, at
University of Edinburgh, Sheffield University, Coventry University and
University Campus Northampton. He has also served as external examiner for honours students in Psychology at Strathclyde University and
University Campus Northampton.
He has over 100 publications, some in Comparative Psychology and in Human Factors, but most in Parapsychology, including
co-authorship of two books. He has given invited lectures at most major universities in Britain as well as universities in most Western European countries. He has been on the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President of the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Twice he has been President of the Parapsychological Association (an affiliate of the AAAS) and he has co-edited the
Proceedings of the Parapsycholgical Association as well as the European Journal of
Parapsychology. He has served on the Council of the Society for Psychical Research and is currently a Vice President. He has been recipient of the Myers Award of the British Psychological Society, the Myers memorial Medal from the Society for Psychical research, the Meritorious Activity Prize from ISLIS and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Parapsychological Association.
His main recent funding sources have been The Institut fuer Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Freiburg, Germany, and the Fundacao Bial in Porto, Portugal. His postgraduate students have received funding from these sources, plus the Perrott-Warrick Fund at Cambridge University, the Society for Psychical Research in London, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Bjorkheim Fund in Stockholm, the Parapsychology Foundation in New York and the University of Edinburgh.
His research interests have included animal social behaviour, human factors, the psychology of deception, volitional competence and performance enhancement, the psychology of anomalous experiences and various aspects of parapsychology. His current research activities involve supervision of, and collaboration in, roughly twenty projects in the last four of these areas.