Assistant Professor Psychology


Dr. Finch plans to accept a graduate student to start in Fall of 2024. If you are interested in applying, please email:

Educational Background

Dr. Finch received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Psychological Sciences from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. She joined the UNL Psychology faculty as part of the Developmental Psychology program in fall of 2018.

Research Interests

Dr. Finch directs the Learning and Development Research group. Her research explores how contextual factors influence children’s early development. Specifically, her work focuses on the development of children’s executive functions and motivation in home and school environments. Her past work has examined how family risk factors are linked to the development of children’s executive functions and social-emotional skills in both domestic and international settings. Currently, Dr. Finch is exploring how interactions with teachers and peers can support executive function development in early and middle childhood.

Please contact Dr. Finch regarding research opportunities if you are interested in getting involved!

Representative Publications:

  • Finch, J. E., Saavedra, A., & Obradović, J. (in press) Academic motivation and self-regulated classroom behaviors in middle childhood: Moderation by parental education. Journal of Child and Family Studies.
  • Finch, J. E., Akhavein, K., Patwardhan, I., & Clark, C. A. C. (2023). Teachers’ self-efficacy and perceptions of school climate are uniquely associated with students’ externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 85, 101512. 
  • Finch, J. E., Wolf, S., & Lichand, G. (2022) Executive functions and motivation uniquely predict children’s academic development in Côte d’Ivoire. Developmental Psychology, 58(12), 2287-2301.
  • Sulik, M. J., Finch, J. E., & Obradović, J. (2020). Moving beyond executive functions: Challenge Preference as a predictor of academic achievement in elementary school. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 198.
  • Finch, J. E. (2019). Do schools promote executive functions? Differential working memory growth across the school-year and summer months. AERA Open, 5(2), 1-14.
  • Finch, J. E., Garcia, E. B., Sulik, M. J., & Obradović, J. (2019). Links between classmates’ and individual students’ executive functions in elementary school. AERA Open, 5(1), 1-14.
  • Finch, J. E., Yousafzai, A., Rasheed, M., & Obradović, J. (2019). Measuring and understanding social-emotional behaviors in preschoolers from rural Pakistan. PLOS ONE, 13(11).
  • Finch, J. E., & Obradović, J. (2017). Unique effects of socioeconomic and emotional parental challenges on children’s executive functions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 52, 126-137.
  • Finch, J. E., & Obradović, J. (2017). Independent and compensatory contributions of executive functions and challenge preference for students’ adaptive classroom behaviors. Learning and Individual Differences, 55, 183-192.
  • Obradović, J., Sulik, M., Finch, J. E., & Tirado-Strayer, N. (2017). Assessing students’ executive functions in the classroom: Validating a scalable group-based procedure. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 55, 4-13.
  • Bassok, D., Finch, J. E., Lee, R. H, Reardon, S. F., & Waldfogel, J. (2016). Socioeconomic gaps in early childhood experiences, 1998 to 2010. AERA Open, 2(3), 1-22.
  • Obradović, J., Yousafzai, A., Finch, J. E., & Rasheed, M. (2016). Maternal scaffolding and home stimulation: Key mediators of early intervention effects on children’s cognitive development. Developmental Psychology, 52(9), 1409-1421.
  • Finch, J. E., Johnson, A. D., & Phillips, D. A. (2015). Is sensitive caregiving in child care associated with children’s early effortful control skills? An exploration of linear and threshold effects. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 31(2), 125-134.