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Rhonda Brown

Title: Associate Professor; Co-Director, Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Lab; Co-Editor, Children, Youth and Environments
Office: 2150W EDWARDS 1 Edwards Center
Tel: 513-556-3622
Email: brownro@ucmail.uc.edu

Current research projects of Dr. Brown examine neural correlates and cognitive mechanisms of mathematical and memory development using fMRI and behavioral measures with the aim of improving educational interventions for children with learning difficulties. Her teaching interests include Cognitive Development, Mathematics Cognition, and Cognition & Culture.


  • Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, 1998 (Psychology).
  • M.A., University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 1995 (Psychology).
  • B.S. cum laude, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1993 (Psychology; Human & Organizational Development).

Research Information

Research Support

  • (Co-PI), Brown, Rhonda; Carr, Victoria; Kloos, Adelheid; Maltbie, Catherine; Plano Clark, Vicki, STEM in the PlayScape: Building Knowledge for Educational Practice, National Science Foundation. (DRL-1516191), $1,116,905.00. 01-15-2016 to 12-31-2018. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Brown, R.D., O'Brien, B. A., Holland, S., & Horowitz-Kraus, T., The ability of executive functions and reading to improve following reading intervention among children with reading disability: An fMRI study., University of Cincinnati; University Research Council. $25,000. 2012 to 2013. Status: Completed.
  • (Co-PI), Brown, Rhonda; Carr, Victoria; Kloos, Adelheid, Playscapes: Designed Nature Environments to Promote Informal Science Learning, National Science Foundation. (NSF DRL-1114674), $330,124.00. 10-01-2011 to 09-30-2013. Status: Completed.
  • (PI), Brown, R.D., Schmithorst, V. J., & Kroeger, L. A., Cincinnati Children's Hospital & Medical Center Imaging Research Center. $12,125. 2011 to 2012. Status: Completed.
  • (PI), Brown, R.D., Neural correlates of mathematics cognition and specific learning difficulties., University of Cincinnati; University Research Council. $6,500. 2010 to 2012. Status: Completed.


Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Kloos, H. Waltzer, T., Maltbie, C., Brown, R.D., & Carr, V. (2018). Inconsistencies in early science education: Can nature help streamline state standards? Ecopsychology, 10(4), 243-258.
  • Schlembach, S., Kochanowski, L., Brown, R. D., & Carr, V. (2018). Early childhood educators’ perceptions of play and inquiry on a nature playscape. Children, Youth and Environments, 28(2), 82-101.
  • Kowalski, K., Brown, R. D., Pretti-Frontczak, K., Uchida, C., & Sacks, D. F. (2018). The accuracy of teachers’ judgments for assessing young children’s emerging math and literacy skills. Psychology in the Schools, 55(9), 997-1012.
  • Kloos, H., Maltbie, C., Brown, R. D. & Carr, V. (2018). Listening in: Spontaneous teacher talk on playscapes. Creative Education, 9(3), 426-441.
  • Carr, V., Brown, R. D., Schlembach, S., & Kochanowski, L. (2017). Nature by design: Playscape affordances support the use of executive function in preschoolers. Children, Youth and Environments27(2), 25-46. 
  • Horowitz-Kraus, T., Buck, C., Gutpa, R., & Brown, R.D.(2017). Comparison of the Orton-Gillingham and a web-based program in children with reading difficulties. Journal of Childhood and Developmental Disorders, 3(3), 1-9.  


  • Brown, R. D. (2018). Neuroscience of mathematical cognitive development: From infancy through emerging adulthood. New York, NY: Springer Nature.


  • Brown, R. D., Carr, V. Mehta, V., & Kochanowski, L. (2018). Children, youth and environments: A call for research, practice, action and policy. Children, Youth and Environments, 28(1), 1-8.
  • Mehta, V., Carr, V.W., Brown, R.D., & Kochanowski, L. (2016). Exhibition highlights: “CYE moves to UC: past, present and future.” Children, Youth and Environments, 26(2), 1-8.
  • Brown, R. D., Carr, V., Mehta, V., Kochanowski, L., van Vliet, W., Chawla, L., & Sancar, F. (2016). History, transitions, and the future of Children, Youth and Environments. Children, Youth and Environments, 26(1),1-16.

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Kroeger, L. A., Brown, R. D., & O’Brien, B. A. (2012). Connecting neuroscience, cognitive, and educational theories and research to practice: A review of mathematics intervention programs. Special Issue: Neuroscience perspectives on early development and education. Early Education and Development, 23 (1), 37-58..
  • Luken, E., Carr, V., & Brown, R. D. (2011). Playscapes: Designs for play, exploration, and science inquiry. Special section on play-based science learning. Children, Youth, & Environments, 21 (2), 325-337..
  • Moyer, M. R., & Brown, R. D. (2011). Medical team training: Using simulation as a teaching strategy for group work. Special Issue: Developing and evaluating groups in health care settings. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 36 (4), 330-351.
  • Chiu, C.-Y. P., Schmithorst,V. J., Brown, R. D., Holland, S. K., & Dunn, S. (2006). Making memories: A cross-sectional investigation of episodic memory encoding in childhood using FMRI. Special Issue: Neural correlates of memory development and learning. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29,, 321-340.
  • Brown, R. D., & Chiu, C.-Y. P. (2006). Neural correlates of memory development and learning: Combining neuroimaging and behavioral measures to understand cognitive and developmental processes. Special Issue: Neural correlates of memory development and learning. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29,, 279-291.
  • Kowalski, K., Brown, R. D., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2005). The effects of using formal assessment on preschool teachers' beliefs about the importance of various developmental skills and abilities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 30,, 23-42.
  • Schmithorst,V. J., & Brown,R. D. (2004). Empirical validation of the triple-code model of numerical processing for complex math operations using functional MRI and group independent component analysis of the mental addition and subtraction of fractions. NeuroImage, 22,, 1419-1425.
  • Pretti-Frontczak, K., Kowalski, K., & Brown, R. D. (2002). Preschool teachers' use of assessments and curricula: A statewide examination. Exceptional Children, 69,, 109-123.
  • Bjorklund, D. F., Cassel, W. S., Bjorklund, B. R., Brown, R. D., Park, C. L., Ernst, K., & Owen, F. A. (2000). Social demand characteristics in children's and adults' eyewitness memory and suggestibility: The effect of different interviewers on free recall and recognition. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14,, 421-433.
  • Bjorklund, D. F., Bjorklund, B. R., Brown, R. D., & Cassel, W. S. (1998). Children’s susceptibility to repeated questions: How misinformation changes children’s answers and their minds. Applied Developmental Science, 2,, 99-111.
  • Bjorklund, D. F., & Brown, R. D. (1998). Physical play and cognitive development: Integrating activity, cognition, and education. Child Development, 69,, 604-606.
  • Brown, R. D., & Bjorklund, D. F. (1998). The biologizing of cognition, development, and education: Approach with cautious enthusiasm. Educational Psychology Review, 10,, 355-373.
  • Douglas, R. N. (1997). Considering the witness in interviews. PSYCOLOQUY, 7 (21).

Published Abstracts

  • Brown, R. D., & Schmithorst, V. J. (2005). Empirical validation of the triple-code model of numerical processing using fMRI[Abstract]. Proceedings of the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society..
  • Brown, R. D., Kowalski, K., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2003). Assessment as a mediator of parent-teacher partnerships[Abstract]. Proceedings of Head Start’s 6th National Research Conference,, 745-746.

Book Chapters

  • Kloos, H., Baker, H., Luken, E., Brown, R., D., Pfeiffer, D., & Carr, V. (2012). Preschoolers learning science: Myth or reality?. Current Topics in Children's Learning and Cognition (pp.45-59).. [Link]
  • Bjorklund, D. F., Dukes, C., & Brown, R. D. (2009). The development of memory strategies. The development of memory in infancy and childhood (2nd Ed.) (pp.145-175). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Bjorklund, D. F., Brown, R. D., & Bjorklund, B. R. (2002). Children’s eyewitness memory: Changing reports and changing representations. Lifespan development of human memory (pp.101-126). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Brown, R. D., Goldstein,E., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2000). The history and zeitgeist of the repressed/false-memory debate: Scientific and sociological perspectives on suggestibility and childhood memory. False-memory creation in children and adults: Theory, research, and implications (pp.1-30). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Bjorklund, D. F., & Douglas, R. N. (1997). The development of memory strategies. The development of memory in childhood (pp.201-246). Hove East Sussex, U. K.: Psychology Press.