Psychology Department
Dr. Joseph McFall

Dr. Joseph McFall

McFall's Photo


I am a developmental psychologist who studies cognition in everyday life domains. Many people automatically think of children when they encounter the term “development,” but people never stop developing during the life span, 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?


It is a pleasure to be teaching at Fredonia, my alma mater. Currently, I teach Cognitive Development and Research Methods. I find both classes to be fun; yes, even Research Methods! In the recent past, I also 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 the Psychology Department Research Participation Pool Coordinator and I manage the online research system portal, Sona Systems, for the department. I am interested in Psychology Curriculum and Assessment, University Academic Integrity, and would one day like 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 also serve as a Building Safety Coordinator in Thompson Hall.

Selected Student-Faculty Collaborations

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. 

Spink, G. L., & McFall, J. P. (2012, May). Effects of age, context, and future-tme perspective in sunk cost decision making. Poster session presented at the Syracuse University Department of Psychology’s 19th Annual Poster Session, Syracuse, NY.

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.

Page modified 8/4/14