Dr. Joseph McFall

Dr. Joseph McFall

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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. Therefore, my research focus is on developmental differences in decision-making effects, reasoning processes, and everyday problem-solving 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 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. I typically teach developmental courses (i.e., Cognitive Development, Child Psychology, Psychology of Adulthood, Life-Span Developmental Psychology), Perception, and Research Methods. I have also supervised internships in Geropsychology. In the past, I have taught courses in Social Psychology, Foundations of Human Behavior, Introduction to Psychology, and Freshman Forum at Syracuse University and 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. I also enjoy academic advising because I find it meaningful to develop professional relationships with students outside of the classroom and lab, especially when we discuss students’ future goals and brainstorm how to get the most out of the college experience.

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 and a member of the Gen. Ed. Transition Leadership Team. In the past, I have served on the University Senate, the Provost's Integrative Learning Team, and 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 am the Psychology Department's Undergraduate Research Coordinator and Administrator of the Sona-Systems Research Management site. I am also Co-Advisor of the local Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology chapter. I have enjoyed working with the Department's Curriculum and Assessment Committees in the past. At the professional level, I serve as an editorial board member for the Journal of Adult Development and an ad-hoc reviewer for developmental journals. I also serve as a reviewer for several professional organizations during conference/meeting abstract submission season. In Fredonia, I'm a member for the Rotary club and serve in leadership or board positions for several local organizations.

Selected Faculty-Student Collaborations

Hofstead, L., & McFall, J. (2017, April). Artifacts in surveying affective forcasting. Poster presented at the SUNY Undergraduate Rsearch Conference, Fredonia, NY.

Scalise, S. & McFall, J. (2017, April). When does a person become an adult?. Poster presented at the SUNY Undergraduate Rsearch Conference, Fredonia, NY.

McFall, J. P. & Cappotelli, M. F. (2015, May). Cultural differences in reasoning errors: Comparison of United States and India. Poster accepted at the 27th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, NY.

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

McFall, J. P. (2015). Directions toward a meta-process model of decision making: Cognitive and behavioral models of change. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 20, 32-44.

McFall, J. P. (2015). Rational, normative, descriptive, prescriptive, or choice behavior? The search for integrative meta-theory of decision making. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 20, 45-59.

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.

Psychology Department

W357 Thompson Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3129