Deb McGinnis


Debra McGinnis, Ph.D.  
Associate Professor
Office: 119 Pryale Hall
Phone: 248-370-2310

Ph.D. Psychology & Aging, University of Southern California
B.A.,  Human Development, California State Univ Long Beach
Major Fields
Cognitive Aging
Critical Thinking
Research Interests
Cognitive Aging
Language and Aging
Personal Epistemology
Current Research Programs 
Language and Aging Research Projects : Recently I published a series of articles examining age-related changes in language comprehension and reading with distraction, with an emphasis on neurological and educational predictors.  Currently, I am conducting research on proverb comprehension and factors associated with proficient comprehension of proverbs.

Epistemic Cognition Research Projects : This program of research addresses how people justify conclusions (epistemic cognition).

Recent Publications 
McGinnis, D. (2012). Susceptibility to Distraction During Reading in Young, Young-old, and Old-old Adults.  Experimental Aging Research, 38, 370-393.

McGinnis, D. (2009). Text comprehension products and processes in young, young-old, and old-old adults. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64, 202-211

McGinnis, D., Goss, J. R., Tessmer, C., & Zelinski, E. M. (2008), Inference Generation in Young, Young-old, and Old-old adults: Evidence for Semantic Architecture Stability. Applied Cognitive Psychology , 22, 171-192.

McGinnis, D., Saunders, N. & Burns, R.J. (2007). Metacomprehension During Rare Word Comprehension.  Reading Psychology, 28, 221-240.

McGinnis, D. & Zelinski, E. M. (2003) Understanding unfamiliar words in young, young-old, and old-old adults: Inferential processing and abstraction deficits. Psychology and Aging, 18, 497-509.

McGinnis, D. & Zelinski, E. M. (2000). Understanding unfamiliar words: The influence of processing resources, vocabulary knowledge, and age.  Psychology and Aging , 15, 235-250.

  Courses Taught
PSY 251: Statistics and Research Design: Students learn how statistics are used to test various types of research hypotheses in psychology. Concepts and the underlying logic of statistical computations are emphasized as much as the mathematical computations. The use of statistical software (SPSS) is also emphasized, and will foster skills that can be applied in educational, corporate, and academic settings.
PSY 323: Adulthood and Aging: This is a developmental psychology course that emphasizes adulthood and aging. Highlighted are age-related changes in mental health, cognition, personality, and emotions, particularly as they are impacted by changes in relationships, retirement, health, and loss. Sensitivity to issues and problems faced by older adults are emphasized throughout.

PSY 425: Advanced Developmental Seminar / Resilient Aging (W13).  Readings include empirical and theoretial papers on resiliency in late life - with an emphasis on various predictors (e.g., personality, life experience, adversity, relationships, etc.).  Students enrolled in this course will prepare presentations and lead discussions, as well as participate in discussions facilitated by other students.