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Donald J. Foss, Ph.D.

Donald Foss

Developmental, Cognitive, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Heyne Building, Room 230B


Don Foss received both his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Prior to joining the University of Houston, he served on the faculties of the University of Texas-Austin (where he also was chair of the Psychology Department) and Florida State University (where he was also dean of the College of Arts & Sciences). At the University of Houston he served from 2005-2008 as Senior Vice President and Provost. Foss has been Editor of Contemporary Psychology and Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of various divisions of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the Psychonomic Society. He has served on numerous boards and commissions. He received an all-University Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of Texas at Austin, and also received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota.

His research interests have been in cognitive psychology, specializing in language comprehension. He has published more than 50 refereed articles and book chapters on these topics, as well as co-written or co-edited seven books. More recently he has turned his attention to the factors that determine success in college and how to instill them in beginning college students. The American Psychological Association has published his evidence-based book on this topic, Your Complete Guide to College Success.  It is written for high-school seniors and undergraduate students.  In addition, he is studying ways to move inexpensive, scalable, readily adoptable and adaptable learning and teaching techniques into college classrooms.


  • Methods in Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Professional Issues in the Academy (graduate)

Selected Publications

Foss, D. J. Leadership Advice: Enlarging the Coin of the Realm.  (in press).  In   Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.) Academic Leadership in Higher Education: From the Top Down and the Bottom Up. NY: Rowman-Littlefield.

Foss, D. J. (2013).  Your Complete Guide to College Success: How to Study Smart, Achieve Your Goals, and Enjoy Campus Life.   Washington, D.C.: APA Books.

Kaup, B. & Foss, D. J. (2005) Detecting and processing inconsistencies in narrative comprehension. In D. T. Rosen (Ed.) Trends in Experimental Psychology Research. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (pp. 67—90).

Traxler, M. J., Foss, D. J., Seely, R. E., Kaup, B., & Morris, R.K. (2000) Processing effects in sentence comprehension: Effects of association and integration. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 29, 583—597.

Foss, D. J. (1998) Two strands of scholarship on language comprehension: Phoneme monitoring and discourse context. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27, 191—201.

Hess, D. J., Foss, D. J. & Carroll, P. (1995) Effects of global and local context on lexical processing during language comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 62 — 82.

Foss, D. J. (1988) Experimental Psycholinguistics. Annual Review of Psychology, 39, 301 - 348.

Foss, D. J., Smith-Kerker, P. & Rosson, M. B. (1987) On comprehending a computer manual: Analysis of variables affecting performance. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 26, 277 - 300.

Foss, D. J. (1982) A discourse on priming. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 590-607.