about me -


I am not what most people picture when they think of "a psychologist." I am not a therapist, and I have little interest in mental illness. Instead, I am an experimental psychologist who just wants to understand human nature. I am especially interested in the psychology that underlies everyday life.


I study human social behavior from an evolutionary perspective, and when I am not conducting or writing up psychology experiments, I write for the average person-on-the-street.  I cover topics as diverse as why we grieve so deeply over the death of our dogs, why old people hate new musicwhy clowns creep us out, and why we remember our high school years so vividly. I have also been involved with several documentary films. (See a trailer for one of them.)

I have been deeply engaged with the life of the college during my 40-plus years at Knox.  Among many other things, I founded the environmental studies program and chaired the psychology department for a decade; on the side, I also worked with the McNair Scholars Program and coached the wrestling team for many years. I am particularly proud of the fact that more than 100 of my former students have completed a doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related field.


*I was born on a U.S. military base in Germany and I mostly grew up in the anthracite coal region of

  Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I also lived in Maine for five years, and I now reside on the prairie 

  in Western Illinois in a house that is 115 years old.


*I am the oldest of five children and I attended Catholic schools for 17 years.

*I was a wrestler in high school (two-time state placer) and in college (NCAA Division II program), and

  many of my academic colleagues are unaware that I masqueraded as college wrestling coach for 30

  years, with 12 years as a head coach.


*My wife (Maryjo) and I have two grown children (Tim & Maura), one ungrown grandchild (Colleen),

  and a dog named Audrey Hepburn.

*I had the distinct privilege of serving as Stephen Colbert's host and introducing him when he

  delivered the 2006 commencement address at Knox College.

*I have been lucky enough to have experienced the animals of South Africa and Tanzania in the wild.

                          (Click on the elephant to see pictures of an elephant attacking my car.)

Purple - Blue Gradient

Research Interests

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University of Maine

Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (1981)

(also did graduate work in Zoology)


B.S. in Psychology (1974 - magna ignoramus)

In keeping with the true liberal arts tradition, I also took a LOT of courses in Biology, English Literature, Mathematics, & Philosophy

The founding mission of King's was

"to educate the sons of coal miners."

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West Side Central Catholic High School

       Kingston, Pennsylvania (1970)

                     (now defunct)

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Visitors since August 22, 2016:


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            © 2015 by Francis T. McAndrew.


Header Image: Maura McAndrew