Skip to main
Margaret McDevitt

Contact Prof. McDevitt

I am from San Diego, California, and although I miss the beach, I also love the seasons in Maryland (especially snow days!). I established and maintain a pigeon laboratory here at McDaniel College where I conduct research with undergraduate students. Our studies focus on the basic learning processes shared across species, and recent experiments in the pigeon lab have studied the role of information in causing pigeons to "gamble" away food.

I love creating new classes and keeping up-to-date on new research that helps inform our understanding of behavior. Recent courses have focused on the science of happiness, health psychology, and understanding the current challenges faced by the field of psychology.

Education

1997
Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, University of California, San Diego
1994
M.A. in Experimental Psychology, University of California, San Diego
1992
M.S. in Clinical Psychology, California State University, Stanislaus
1990
B.A. in Psychology, California State University, Stanislaus

Research Interests

  • Suboptimal behavior

  • Choice behavior

  • Conditioned reinforcement

Recent Courses

  • PSY 4492: The Dark Side of Psychology: The Replicability Crisis and Other Challenges

  • PSY 2201: The Psychology of Learning and Animal Laboratory

  • PSY 2305: Health Psychology

  • PSY 3365: The Science of Happiness

Selected Publications

  • Pisklak, J. M., McDevitt, M. A., & Dunn, R. M. (2019). Clarifying contrast, acknowledging the past, and expanding the focus. Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews, 14, 33-38. doi:10.3819/CCBR.2019.140004

  • Pisklak, J. M., McDevitt, M. A., Dunn, R. M., & Spetch, M. L. (2018). Frequency and value both matter in the suboptimal choice procedure. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. doi: 10.1002/jeab.490

  • McDevitt, M. A., Pisklak, J. M., Spetch, M., & Dunn, R. (2018). The influence of outcome delay on suboptimal choice. Behavioural Processes, 157, 279-285. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2018.10.008

  • Diller, J., & McDevitt, M. A. (2017). Conditioning and Association, in T. K. Shackelford and V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6

  • McDevitt, M. A., Dunn, R. M., Spetch, M. L., & Ludvig, E. A. (2016). When good news leads to bad choices. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 105, 23-40. https://doi.org/10.1002/jeab.192

Awards and Honors

  • 2019 winner of the Joseph V. Brady Significant Research Contribution Award from the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior for "When good news leads to bad choices" by Margaret A. McDevitt, Roger M. Dunn, Marcia L. Spetch & Elliot A. Ludvig in 2016 JEAB volume 105(1), p. 23-40. This award is given to the most highly cited article from the previous three years (not including self citations).

Margaret McDevitt

Contact Prof. McDevitt