David C. Geary
212B McAlester Hall
PH: (573) 882-6268
David C. Geary is a cognitive scientist and evolutionary psychologist with interests in mathematical cognition and learning as well as the biological bases of sex differences. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1986 from the University of California at Riverside, he held faculty positions at the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Missouri, first at the Rolla campus and then in Columbia. Dr. Geary is currently a Curators' Distinguished Professor and a Thomas Jefferson Fellow in the Department of Psychological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program.
Dr. Geary has written four sole-authored books; Children's mathematical development (1994), Male, female: The evolution of human sex differences (1998, second edition, 2010, third edition 2021), The origin of mind: Evolution of brain, cognition, and general intelligence (2005), and Evolution of vulnerability: Implications for sex differences in health and development (2015), as well as one co-authored book, Sex differences: Summarizing more than a century of scientific research (Ellis et al., 2008). Several of these books have been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, or Korean.
In addition, he has published more than 350 articles and chapters across a wide range of topics, including cognitive, developmental, and evolutionary psychology, education, biology, and medicine. He co-edited a five-volume book series, Mathematical Cognition and Learning, with Drs. Dan Berch and Kathy Mann Koepke. These volumes include Evolutionary origins and early development of basic number processing (2015); Development of mathematical cognition: Neural substrates and genetic influences (2016); Acquiring complex arithmetic skills and higher-order mathematical concepts (2017), Language and culture in mathematical cognition (2018), and Cognitive foundations for improving mathematical learning (2019). Drs. Geary and Berch also co-edited Evolutionary perspectives on child development and education (2016).
Dr. Geary has given invited addresses in a variety of departments (anthropology, biology, behavior genetics, computer science, education, government, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and psychology) and Universities throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe and East Asia. He is the lead investigator on the MU Math Study, which is focused on mathematical development from the preschool years through high school and supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Among many distinctions is the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (1996), a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, co-recipient of the 2009 George A. Miller Award, American Psychological Association, and recipient of the G. Stanley Hall Award for lifetime scientific contributions to developmental psychology (American Psychological Association, division 7). He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was the 2014 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has been a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University.
Last updated: 2/9/2023
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L., & Ünal, Z. E. (in press). Sex differences in developmental pathways to mathematical competence. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online; doi.org/10.1037/edu0000763
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L. (in press). Boys’ advantage in solving algebra word problems is mediated by spatial abilities and mathematics anxiety. Developmental Psychology. Advance online; doi.org/10.1037/dev0001450
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L., Ünal, Z. E., & Greene, N. R. (in press). Sex differences and similarities in relations between mathematics achievement, attitudes, and anxiety: A 7th-to-9th grade longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology.
Geary, D. C. (in press). Sexual selection and sex differences in brain and cognition. In C. Orsini & L. Cahill (Vol. Eds.), Sex differences. J. Grafman (Gen. Ed.), Encyclopedia of the human brain (2th Ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Geary, D. C. (in press). Evolved cognitive domains and academic learning: Implications for curricula development. In Rata, E. (Ed.), Research handbook and curricula and education. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Li, Y., Meyers, P., Geary, D. C., Robertson, T., & Popov, V. (in press). Fostering visuospatial skills in children through inquiry-based learning with origami: The case study of VisMO lessons. In J. Michael Spector, Barbara B. Lockee and Marcus D. Childress (Eds), Learning, Design, and Technology. An International Compendium of Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. New York: Springer.
Geary, D. C. (2022). Sex, brain, and mathematics: An evolutionary perspective. Developmental Review, 63, 101010. (doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2021.101010)
Geary, D. C. (2022). Spatial ability as a distinct domain of human cognition: An evolutionary perspective. Intelligence, 90, 101616. (doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2021.101616)
Ünal, Z. E., Forsberg, A., Geary, D. C., & Cowan, N. (2022). The role of domain-general attention and domain-specific processing in working memory in algebraic performance: An experimental approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 48, 348–374.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2022). Sex differences in adolescents’ occupational aspirations: Variation across time and place. PLoS ONE, 17, e0261438. (doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261438)
Khatib, L., Li, Y., Geary, D. C., & Popov, V. (2022). Meta-analysis on the relations between visuomotor integration and academic achievement: Role of educational stage and disability. Educational Research Review, 35, 100414. (doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2021.100412)
Spencer, M., Fuchs, L. S., Geary, D. C., & Fuchs, D. (2022). Connections between mathematics and reading development: Numerical cognition mediates relations between foundational competencies and later academic outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114, 273-288.
Geary, D. C., & Xu, K. M. (2022). Evolution of self-awareness and the cultural emergence of academic and non-academic self-concepts. Educational Psychology Review, 34. Advance online; doi.org/10.1007/s10648-022-09669-2
Bjorklund, D., F., Ellis, B. &, Geary, D. C. (2022). Developing evolutionary psychology: Comment on Narvaez, Moore, Witherington, Vandiver, and Lickliter. American Psychologist, 77, 781-783.
Geary, D. C. & Xu, K. M. (2022). Evolutionary perspectives on educational psychology: Motivation, instructional design, and child development. Educational Psychology Review, 34. Advance online; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-022-09710-4
Geary, D. C. (2021). Now you see them, now you don’t: An evolutionarily informed model of environmental influences on human sex differences. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 125, 26-32.
Geary, D. C. (2021). Evolution and sex differences in political engagement. Psychological Inquiry, 32, 96-104.
Geary, D. C., Scofield, J. E., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L. (2021). Boys’ advantage on the fractions number line is mediated by visuospatial attention: Evidence for a parietal-spatial contribution to number line learning. Developmental Science, 24, e13063.
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., & Scofield, J. E. (2021). In-class attentive behavior, spatial ability, and mathematics anxiety predict across-grade gains in adolescents’ mathematics achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 113,. 754-769
Jašarević, E., Hecht P, M., Fritsche, K L., Geary, D. C., Rivera, R. M. & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2021). Maternal DHA supplementation influences sex-specific disruption of placental gene expression following early prenatal stress. Biology of Sex Differences, 12, 10.
Geary, D. C. (2021). Mitochondrial functioning and the relations among health, cognition, and aging: Where cognitive science meets cell biology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22, 3562.
Fuchs, L. S., Seethaler, P. M., Sterba, S. K., Craddock, C., Fuchs, D. Compton, D. L., Geary, D. C. & Changas, P. (2021). Closing the word-problem achievement gap in first grade: Schema-based word-problem intervention with embedded language comprehension instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 113, 86–103
Scofield, J. E., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., LaMendola, J. V, & Geary, D. C. (2021). Mathematics clustersreveal strengths and weaknesses in adolescents’ mathematical competencies, spatial abilities, and mathematics attitudes. Journal of Cognition and Development, 22, 695-720.
Ünal, Z. E., Powell, S. R., Özel, S., Scofield, J. E., & Geary, D. C. (2021). Mathematics vocabulary differentially predicts mathematics achievement in eighth grade higher- versus lower- achieving students: Comparisons across two countries. Learning and Individual Differences, 92, 102061. (doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2021.102061).
Geary, D. C. (2021). A journey from behavioral ecology to sex differences to mitochondria and intelligence. In D. Y. Dai & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Scientific Inquiry into Human Potential: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives Across Disciplines (pp. 3-15). New York, NY: Routledge.
Winegard, B., & Geary, D. C. (2021). The evolution of competition. In S. Garcia, A. Tor, & A. Elliot
(Eds.), Oxford handbook on the psychology of competition (pp. 1-21). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Geary, D. C. et al. (2021). Preparation for success in algebra: Exploring math education relationships by analyzing large data sets (EMERLDS). New York: Student Achievement Partners.
Geary, D. C. (2020). Mitochondrial functions, cognition, and the evolution of intelligence: Reply to commentaries and moving forward. Journal of Intelligence, 8, 42.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2020). Gender differences in the pathways to higher education. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117, 14073–14076.
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., Ünal, Z. E., & Scofield, J. E. (2020). Comorbid learning difficulties in reading and mathematics: The role of intelligence and in-class attentive behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 572099.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2020). Sex-specific academic ability and attitude patterns in students across developed nations. Intelligence, 81, 101453.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2020). The gender-equality paradox is part of a bigger phenomenon: Rely to Richardson and colleagues (2020). Psychological Science, 31, 342–344.
Bailey, D., Fuchs, L. S., Gilbert, J. K., Geary, D. C., & Fuchs, D. (2020). Prevention: Necessary but insufficient? A two-year follow-up of an effective first-grade mathematics intervention. Child Development, 91, 382-400.
Winegard, B., Kirsch, A., Vonasch, A., Winegard, B., & Geary, D. C. (2020). Coalitional value theory: An evolutionary approach to understanding culture. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 6, 301-318.
Hone, L. S. E., Scofield, J. E., Bartholow, B. D., Geary, D. C. (2020). Frequency of recent binge drinking is associated with sex-specific cognitive deficits: Evidence for condition-dependent trait expression in humans. Evolutionary Psychology, 18, 1-13.
Geary, D. C., & Stoet, G. (2020). Ideological blinders in the study of sex difference in participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. In D. Allen and B. Howell, editors, Groupthink in science: Greed, pathological altruism, ideology, competition, and culture (pp. 175-183). New York: Springer.
Geary, D. C. (2019). Evolutionary perspective on sex differences in the expression of neurological diseases. Progress in Neurobiology, 176, 33-53.
Geary, D. C. (2019). The spark of life and the unification of intelligence, health, and aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28, 223-228.
Geary, D. C., vanMarle, K., Chu, F., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L. (2019). Predicting age of becoming a cardinal principle knower. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111, 256-267.
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., Chu, F. W., Scofield, J. E., & Hibbard, D. F. (2019). Sex differences in mathematics anxiety and attitudes: Concurrent and longitudinal relations to mathematical competence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111, 1447–1461.
Stoet, G. & Geary, D. C. (2019). Basic index of gender inequality: A simplified measure of sex differences in wellbeing. PLoS ONE, 14(1), e0205349.
Rhodes, K. T., Lukowski, S., Branum-Martin, L., Opfer, J., Geary, D. C., & Petrill, S. A. (2019). Individual differences in addition strategy choices: A modern psychometric evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 111, 414-433.
Scofield, J. E., Johnson, J. D., Wood, P. K., & Geary, D. C. (2019). Latent resting-state network dynamics in boys and girls with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. PLoS ONE, 14(6),
Chu, F. W., vanMarle, K., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., Scofield, J., & Geary, D. C. (2019). Preschool deficits in cardinal knowledge and executive function contribute to longer-term mathematical learning disabilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 188, 104668.
Li, Y., Sheldon, K. M., Rouder, J., Bergin, D. A., & Geary, D. C. (2019). Long-term prospects (LTP) and college students’ academic performance. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 37, 358-371.
Hone, L. S. E., Scofield, J. E., Bartholow, B. D., & Geary, D. C. (2019) Tutorial on designing, implementing, and analyzing a degraded image paradigm: A facial expression-decoding task example. The Quantitative Methods in Psychology, 15, 200-213.
Geary, D. C. (2019). Mitochondria as the linchpin of general intelligence and the link between g, health, and aging. Journal of Intelligence, 7, 25.
Geary, D. C., Berch, D. B., & Mann Koepke, K (2019). Introduction: Cognition foundations for improving mathematical learning. In D. C. Geary, D. B. Berch, and K. Mann Koepke (Eds.), Cognitive foundations for improving mathematical learning. (Vol. 5, Mathematical Cognition and Learning, pp. 1-36). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Oxford, J., & Geary, D. C. (2019). Life history evolution in hominins. In T. B. Henley, M. Rossano, & E. P. Kardas (Eds), Handbook of cognitive archaeology: A psychological framework (pp. 36-57). New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Geary, D. C. (2018). Efficiency of mitochondrial functioning as the fundamental biological mechanism of general intelligence (g). Psychological Review, 125, 1028-1050.
Geary, D. C. (2018). Autism in the broader context of cognitive sex differences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115, 12089-12091.
Geary, D. C., vanMarle, K., Chu, F., Rouder, J., Hoard, M. K., & Nugent, L. (2018). Early conceptual understanding of cardinality predicts superior school-entry number system knowledge. Psychological Science, 29, 191-205.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2018). The gender-equality paradox in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Psychological Science, 29, 581-593. [Altmetric Top 100, 2018]
Geary, D. C., & vanMarle, K. (2018). Growth of symbolic number knowledge accelerates after children understand cardinality. Cognition, 177, 69-78.
vanMarle, K., Chu, F. W., Mou, Y., Seok, J. H., Rouder, J. N., &. Geary, D. C. (2018). Attaching meaning to the number words: Contributions of the object tracking and approximate number systems. Developmental Science, 21, e12495.
Chu, F. W., vanMarle, K., Rouder, J., & Geary, D. C. (2018). Children’s early understanding of number predicts their later problem-solving sophistication in addition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 169, 73-92.
Winegard, B., Winegard, B., & Geary, D. C. (2018). The status competition model of cultural production. Evolutionary Behavioral Science, 4, 351-371.
Winegard, B. Winegard, B., & Geary, D. C. (2018). The evolution of expertise. In K. A. Ericsson (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (second edition, pp. 40-48). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Berch, D. B., Geary, D. C., & Mann Koepke, K. (2018). Language and culture in mathematical cognitive development. In D. B. Berch, D. C. Geary, and K. Mann Koepke, (Eds.) Language and culture in mathematical cognition (Vol. 4, Mathematical Cognition and Learning, pp. 1-29). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Geary, D. C. (2018). Numeracy. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, and J. E. Lansford (Eds.), The Sage encyclopedia of lifespan human development (pp. 1521-1522). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Geary, D. C. (2018). [Review of How men age: What evolution reveals about male health and mortality by R. G. Bribiescas]. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 2, 99-101.
Geary, D. C. (2017). Evolution of human sex-specific cognitive vulnerabilities. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 92, 361-410.
Geary, D. C. (2017). Evolutionary framework for identifying sex- and species-specific vulnerabilities in brain development and functions. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 95, 355-361.
Geary, D. C., Nicholas, A., Li, Y. & Sun, J. (2017). Developmental change in the influence of domain-general abilities and domain-specific knowledge on mathematics achievement: An eight-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 680–693.
Li, Y., & Geary, D. C. (2017). Children’s visuospatial memory predicts mathematics achievement through early adolescence. PLoS ONE, 12(2): e0172046.
Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2017). Students in countries with higher levels of religiosity perform lower in science and mathematics. Intelligence, 62, 71-78.
Winegard, B., Winegard, B., Geary, D. C., Baumeister, R., & Reynolds, T. (2017). One’s better half: Romantic partners function as social signals. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3, 294-305.
Geary, D. C., Berch, D. B., Ochsendorf, R., & Mann Koepke, K. (2017). Insights from cognitive science on mathematical learning. In D. C. Geary, D. B., Berch, R. Ochsendorf, & K Mann Koepke (Eds.), Acquiring complex arithmetic skills and higher-order mathematical concepts. (Vol. 3, Mathematical Cognition and Learning, pp. 1-18). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Geary, D. C. (2017). Early emergence of quantitative knowledge. In A. Mesoudi, J. Adams, & P. Barmby (Eds.). The nature and development of mathematics: Cross disciplinary perspectives on cognition, learning, and culture (pp. 91-104). London, UK: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Geary D. C. (2017). Commentary on culture, the environment, and the impact of society: An educational perspective. In A. Mesoudi, J. Adams, & P. Barmby (Eds.). The nature and development of mathematics: Cross disciplinary perspectives on cognition, learning, and culture (pp. 148-152). London,
UK: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.