Psychology Department
Dr. Joseph McFall

Dr. Joseph McFall

McFall's Photo


I am a life-span developmental psychologist who studies applied cognition in everyday life domains. Many people automatically think of children when they encounter the term “development,” but we never stop developing during our entire lifespan, especially cognitively. Therefore, my research focus is on developmental differences in everyday problem-solving and decision-making processes in early and later adulthood. My research focuses on the theme of effectiveness in achieving everyday life goals. For example, what makes an effective problem solver? When do people’s decisions match their goals? How do developmental changes in goals affect decision outcomes? I am also interested in the individual and contextual factors related to successful everyday behavior. Do individual differences in life experiences or personality traits predict college success? What environmental factors trump one’s goals when making life decisions? How does non-normative cognitive decline (i.e., MCI, dementia) affect decision-making in later adulthood?


It is a pleasure and privilege to be teaching at Fredonia, my alma mater. Currently, I teach developmental courses (i.e., Cognitive Development, Child Psychology, Psychology of Adulthood), Perception, and Research Methods. I am also supervising two internship positions in Geropsychology. In the past, I have taught Child Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Life-Span Developmental Psychology, Foundations of Human Behavior, and Freshman Forum at Syracuse University. Previously, I taught Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, and helped with the Field Experience in Psychology course during graduate studies at West Virginia University. One of my favorite forms of teaching is working with students one-on-one or small groups in independent study through my research lab.

Service Activities

I am involved in many service roles at the college, department, professional organization, and local community levels. I am the Co-Chair of the University General Education Committee, Interim Social Science At-Large University Senator, and member of the Provost's Integrative Learning Team. Last year, I was a fellow of the SUNY Tools of Engagement Project. I also serve as a Building Safety Coordinator in Thompson Hall. In the Psychology Department, I Chair the Psychology Department Undergraduate Research Committee and am Administrator of the Sona-Systems Research Management System. I am also a member of the Psychology Department Curriculum Committee an Co-Advisor of the local Psi Chi chapter. One day, I hope to work with students who need guidance in developing their skills for becoming successful in college. During advising, I enjoy discussing students’ future goals and brainstorm how to get the most out of the college experience. I serve as an editorial board member for the Journal of Adult Development and serve as a reviewer for several professional organizations during conference/meeting abstract submission season. In Fredonia, I'm a member for the Rotary club, Financial Secretary for the Knights of Columbus, and can be found singing in choirs or playing handbells on special occasions.

Selected Student-Faculty Collaborations

McFall, J. P. & Cappotelli, M. F. (2014, June). Cultural differences in decision-making biases: India and USA. Poster accepted at the 29th Annual Symposium of Society for Research in Adult Development, Salem, MA.

McFall, J. P., & Kesel, C. E. (2014, June). Everyday decision making: A unified conceptual model. Poster accepted at the 29th Annual Symposium of Society for Research in Adult Development, Salem, MA.

McFall, J. P., & Spink, G. L. (2013, May).  Processing speed and age differences in sunk cost health decisions.  Poster session presented at the 25th annual conference of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, DC. 

Selected Publications

Strough, J., McFall, J. P., & Schuller, K. L. (2010). Endorsement of interpersonal strategies for dealing with hypothetical everyday arthritis problems as a function of marital status, gender, and problem severity. The International Journal Of Aging & Human Development, 70(1), 39-59.

Strough, J., McFall, J. P., Flinn, J. A., & Schuller, K. L. (2008). Collaborative everyday problem solving among same-gender friends in early and later adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 23, 517-530.

Strough, J., Mehta, C. M., McFall, J. P., & Schuller, K. L. (2008). Do older and younger adults make different decisions about sunk costs? Psychological Science, 19, 650-652.

Page modified 5/7/15