John Best


Dr. John Best’s research uses scientific approaches from lifespan developmental psychology, behavioural economics, health psychology, and kinesiology to study two interrelated questions: (1) What types of experiences bolster cognitive function across the lifespan? (2) What are the cognitive and environmental factors that lead individuals to make choices in the world that promote positive health?

In examining these questions, Dr. Best focuses most closely on executive functions, which refer to the cognitive functions essential to goal-oriented and controlled behaviour.

Originally from the USA, Dr. Best received a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Georgia and post-doctoral training in obesity research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He has received funding, fellowships, and awards from the US National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Psychological Association, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Recent Publications

Best JR, Theim KR, Gredysa DM, Stein RI, Welch RR, Saelens BE, Perri MG, Schechtman KB, Epstein LH, Wilfley DE. Behavioral economic predictors of overweight children’s weight loss. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2012 Dec;80(6):1086-96. doi: 10.1037/a0029827. Epub 2012 Aug 27. (PubMed abstract)

Best JR. Effects of Physical Activity on Children’s Executive Function: Contributions of Experimental Research on Aerobic Exercise. Dev Rev. 2010 Dec;30(4):331-551. (PubMed abstract)

Best JR. Exergaming immediately enhances children’s executive function. Dev Psychol. 2012 Sep;48(5):1501-10. doi: 10.1037/a0026648. Epub 2011 Dec 12. (PubMed abstract)

Best JR, Miller PH. A developmental perspective on executive function. Child Dev. 2010 Nov-Dec;81(6):1641-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01499.x. (PubMed abstract)

Best JR, Miller PH, Naglieri JA. Relations between Executive Function and Academic Achievement from Ages 5 to 17 in a Large, Representative National Sample. Learn Individ Differ. 2011 Aug;21(4):327-336. (PubMed abstract)