College of Education and Allied Professions

Dr. Derek Becker

Dr. Derek Becker


Assistant Professor
Birth-Kindergarten program
Department of Human Services

Phone: 828.227.2196
Office Address: Killian 216
Website: Google Scholar -


Dr. Derek Becker is an Assistant Professor in the Birth-Kindergarten Program. His research focuses on connections among play, physical activity, and sport participation with executive function and early learning. He is currently examining connections among complex motor activity and active play with EF and math in a sample of 3 to 4-year-old children over the prekindergarten year. Prior to starting at WCU, Dr. Becker earned a master’s in Experimental Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Ph.D. in Human Development from Oregon State University.


2016 Ph.D., Human Development. Oregon State University
2009 M.A., Experimental Psychology. California State University, San Bernardino
2006 B.A., Psychology. California State University, San Bernardino


Peer-Reviewed Publications (*Most downloaded article for the journal in 2014)

Becker, D. R., Carrère, S., Siler, C., Jones, S., Bowie, B., & Cooke, C. (2012). Autonomic regulation on the stroop predicts reading achievement in school age children. Mind, Brain, and Education, 6(1), 10-18. doi:10.1111/j.1751228X.2011.01130.x

*Becker, D. R., McClelland, M. M., Loprinzi, P., & Trost, S. G. (2014). Physical activity, self-regulation, and early academic achievement in preschool children. Early Education & Development, 1-15.doi:10.1080/10409289.2013.780505

Becker, D. R., Miao, A., Duncan, R., & McClelland, M. M. (2014). Behavioral self-regulation and executive function both predict visuomotor skills and early academic achievement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(4), 411-424. doi:

MacDonald, M., Lipscomb, S., McClelland, M.M., Duncan, R., Becker, D. R., Kile, M. (in press). Preschoolers' fine and gross motor skills differentially predict executive   function and social behavior. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

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