Faculty Emeriti | Dr. Paul F. Cunningham


Paul F. Cunningham, Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Rivier University in Nashua, NH. He received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Our Lady of Providence Roman Catholic Seminary (Warwick, RI) in 1972, a Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology from Purdue University (W. Lafayette, IN) in 1976, and a doctorate in General/Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) in 1986. In addition to teaching a wide range of psychology courses over his 32-year tenure at Rivier University, he held a variety of administrative positions including Chair of the Behavioral Sciences/Psychology Department, Chair of the Division of Sciences, and Dean of Arts and Sciences. He was elected 44th President of the New England Psychological Association (2003-2004). Dr. Cunningham has devoted much of his professional life to student outcomes assessment and institutional effectiveness in the New England area (Cunningham, 2005a) and has worked on behalf of animal rights and welfare having served as treasurer of Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (1994-1996). He has published articles on the use of animals in research (Cunningham, 1995, 1996, 2005b) and on student choice policies in the psychology classroom (Cunningham, 2000, 2003; Cunningham & Randour, 1998). His academic interests extend into the areas of transpersonal studies (Cunningham, 2007a, 2009, 2011a, 2011b, 2015, 2019a, 2019b), transpersonal education and spirituality in higher education (Cunningham, 2006, 2007b, 2014), paranormal (psi) phenomena (Cunningham, 2012b, 2013, 2019c) and the experimental psychology of the unconscious (Cunningham, 1986; Cunningham & Ramos, 2012).


  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee
  • M.S., Purdue University
  • B.A., Our Lady of Providence Roman Catholic College Seminary


  • Student Outcomes Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness
  • Animal Rights and Welfare
  • Student Choice Policies in the Biology and Psychology Classroom
  • Transpersonal Psychology
  • Spirituality in Higher Education
  • Paranormal (Psi) Phenomena (Trance Channeling)
  • Experimental Psychology of the Unconscious (Hypnotism)

Courses Taught

  • PSY 101 General Psychology
  • PSY 204 Biostatistics
  • PSY 205 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences with SPSS Statistics lab
  • PSY 206 Experimental Psychology
  • PSY 214 Internship I 
  • PSY 304 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 307 Personality Theory
  • PSY 309 Health Psychology
  • PSY 341 JYS: CrossCultural Psychology
  • PSY 400 History and Systems of Psychology
  • PSY 401 Psychological Testing and Assessment
  • PSY 404 Sensation and Perception
  • PSY 405 Transpersonal Psychology
  • PSY 406 Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSY 407 Neuroscience
  • PSY 408 Coordinating Seminar
  • PSY 425 Directed Study
  • PSY 495 Internship II
  • PSY 507 Neuroscience
  • PSY 541 Master’s Thesis I
  • PSY 542 Master’s Thesis II
  • PSY 604 Statistics II: Advanced Behavioral Statistics (Directed Study)
  • PSY 701 Master’s Thesis III
  • PSY 702 Master’s Thesis IV
  • ED 420 Internship in Secondary Education
  • ED 501 Fundamentals of Research
  • ED 752 Analysis and Design of Research
  • ED 755 CAGS: Capstone Project
  • HD 207 Psychology of Education

Recent Publications and Proceedings

  1. Cunningham, P. F. (2019a). Science and unity in transpersonal psychology. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 51(2), 176-197.
  2. Cunningham, P. F. (2019b). Scientism and empiricism in transpersonal psychology. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 51(1), 6-27.
  3. Cunningham, P. F. (2019c). A contribution to the study of the possession trance mediumship of Jane Roberts. Journal of Parapsychology, 83(2), 248-267.
  4. Cunningham, P. F. (2015). Empirical rationalism and transpersonal empiricism: Bridging the two epistemic cultures of transpersonal psychology. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 47(1), 83-120.
  5. Cunningham, P. F. (2014). “Transforming hearts and minds to serve the world”: What does it mean? InSight: Rivier Academic Journal, 10(1), 1-14.
  6. Cunningham, P. F. (2013). Explaining consciousness: A (very) different approach to the “Hard Problem.” The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 34(1), 41-62.
  7. Cunningham, P. F. (2012a). The content-source problem in modern mediumship research. Journal of Parapsychology, 76(2), 295-319.
  8. Cunningham, P. F., & Ramos, P. (2012b). Involuntary experiencing and the performance of hypnotic test suggestions. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 60(4), 416-431.
  9. Cunningham, P. F. (2011a). Are religious experiences really localized within the brain? The promise, challenges, and prospects of neurotheology. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 32(3), 223-250.
  10. Cunningham, P. F. (2011b). The apparition at Medjugorje: A transpersonal perspective (Pts 1-2). The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 43(1), 50-103.