Joe Baker, PhD

School of Kinesiology and Health Science - York University





Research Interests
Current Research

Graduate Students






Current Research Projects

Currently, our lab several research projects underway that are related to the research interests outlined previously.  Brief descriptions are outlined below and more information can be found in the Publications section.

Elite Athlete Research

Our research group has been considering the various constraints on athlete development for nearly 10 years. Current investigations focus on understanding the primary and secondary factors (Baker & Horton, 2004) that affect skill acquisition and expertise development. A primary focus over the past few years has been understanding the limits of current approaches to talent identification and development.

Key recent publications:   
      Loffing, F., Schorer, J., Hagemann, N., Lotz, S., & Baker, J. (2012). On the advantage of being left-handed in volleyball: Further evidence of the specificity of skilled visual perception. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 74, 446–453.

     Koz, D., Fraser-Thomas, J. & Baker, J. (2012). Accuracy of professional sports drafts in predicting career potential. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 22, e64-e69.

     Baker, J., Cobley, S., & Schorer, J. (2012). Talent identification and development in sport: International perspectives. Routledge/Taylor and Francis.

Successful Aging Research

Although our lab considers a diverse range of issues related to optimizing the experiences of older persons, a primary question is "to what extent can older persons maintain their skills in the face of advancing age?" This question has important implications for making informed policies regarding the capabilities of aging members of our society.  Current understanding suggests that much of the decline in physical and cognitive abilities seen with age is due to decreasing levels of involvement in stimulating activities.  In our lab we use the performance of Masters athletes to represent the capabilities that are attainable if individuals maintain involvement in physical activity throughout their lifespan. 


A second area of interest relates to the role that negative stereotypes of aging play in promoting a negative experience in later life. In general, we (i.e., North Americans) live in a society that reinforces the notion that aging is a bad thing - that our physical and cognitive abilities inevitably decline as we get older until we reach a point where we are unable to function independently.  In another area, social learning theory suggests that we are driven to participate in activities where we feel competent and our lab is interested in examining the role that negative societal stereotypes about aging play in perpetuating dis-involvement in physical activity and other healthy lifestyle behaviours.  Collaborators include Janice Deakin and Bill Pearce from Queen's University, Jörg Schorer from the University of Münster, Janet Starkes from McMaster University and Patti Weir and Sean Horton from the University of Windsor. 

Key recent publications:   
      Baker, J., Horton, S., & Weir, P. (2010). The masters athlete: Understanding the role of sport and exercise in optimizing aging. Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
      Meisner, B. & Baker, J. (in press). Aging expectations are associated with preventive health care practices. Psychology and Aging.

      Stone, R.C., Meisner, B.A. & Baker, J. (in press). Mood disorders among older adults participating in individual and group active environments: ‘Me’ versus ‘us’, or both? Journal of Aging Research.