David C. Geary home page Department of Psychological Sciences home page
University of Missouri-Columbia home page



Curators' Professor
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-2500
Phone: 573-882-6268
Fax: 573-882-7710
E-mail: GearyD@Missouri.edu

(Requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® to view.)

David C. Geary is a cognitive developmental 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 in preparation ), 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 300 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), andCognitive 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 (see MU Math Study), and supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

In addition to these academic activities, he was a key contributor to the 1999 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through grade twelve. Dr. Geary served on the President's National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and chaired the panel's Learning Processes task-group. Dr. Geary was appointed by President Bush to the National Board of Directors for the Institute for Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), and served on the board from 2007 through 2010.

Dr. Geary has also contributed to more applied issues, especially as related to mathematics education. Based on his studies of children's mathematical learning and learning disabilities, he has written pieces for parents and teachers on the topic, including a recent article for the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

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, and co-recipient of the 2009 George A. Miller Award, American Psychological Association, for outstanding journal article in general psychology. 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.