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Ryan Best, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Life-Span Developmental Psychology

Click here to access the webpage for Dr. Best's lab


Dr. Best received undergraduate degrees in psychology and biology from the University of Delaware in 2008. He completed his graduate work in cognitive psychology at Florida State University, receiving his M.S. in 2011 and Ph.D. in 2016.

He held a postdoctoral research fellowship in Lifespan Development with the University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Aging” at the University of Zurich from 2016-2019 and a NIH/NIA postdoctoral fellowship in the study of aging at the RAND Corporation from 2019-2021.

Dr. Best joined the faculty at WVU as an assistant professor of lifespan developmental psychology in 2021.

Research Interests

Dr. Best’s research uses the lifespan development approach to study how shifts in motivational processes across adulthood affect decision-making and how adults pursue goals. In his work, he applies theories of motivational development to the study of cognitive aging and the ways that cognitive aging influences behavior.

Dr. Best’s current work includes research on the goal orientation perspective and how loss aversion goals manifest in behavior. His cognitive aging work focuses on age differences in risk preferences, framing effects, and numeracy. His current applied work investigates older adults’ perceptions and attitudes towards New Mobility transportation systems and automated vehicles.

Dr. Best will be accepting applications from potential graduate students for Fall 2024. If interested in working with Dr. Best, contact him at


  • Psychology 203 – Research Methods & Analysis I
  • Psychology 204 – Research Methods & Analysis II
  • Psychology 512 – Research Design & Analysis II
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