Rhonda Brown

Rhonda Douglas Brown , Ph.D.


Professor & Co-Director, Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Laboratory

Edwards Center


CECH Educational Studies - 0105

Professional Summary

Rhonda Douglas Brown, Ph.D. is currently a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Human Development and Cognitive Developmental Psychology.

Dr. Brown co-founded and serves as Co-Director of the Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Laboratory, which strives to generate research, educational experiences, and applications using an emergent, interdisciplinary approach from the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and education.

Dr. Brown also serves as Co-Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Children, Youth and Environments. The Children, Youth and Environments network disseminates knowledge and stimulates discussion to support inclusive, sustainable, and healthy environments for children and youth everywhere. 

Dr. Brown conducts research examining 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. Dr. Brown has also conducted research sponsored by the National Science Foundation (Co-PI, Award # 1516191) examining how intentionally designed PlayScapes serve as environments for promoting children's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and executive function. 

Dr. Brown advises students in the Educational Studies Ph.D. program in the Developmental & Learning Sciences area of concentration. From 2020-2024, she will serve as a co-advisor to doctoral scholars participating in the National Early Childhood Intervention Doctoral Consortium (ECiDC), which is funded to prepare doctoral scholars across 10 universities in early childhood special education (birth-5) and related services (occupational therapy, social work and speech and language pathology) for positions as future faculty members who have expertise with infants and young children with high intensity needs and their families (U.S. OSEP, H325H190004, Project Director: Mary Beth Bruder).


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 [Arts & Sciences]; Human & Organizational Development [Peabody College])

Research Support

Grant: #DRL-1516191 Investigators:Carr, V., Brown, R. D., & Kloos, H. 01-15-2016 -12-31-2019 National Science Foundation. STEM in the PlayScape: Building Knowledge for Educational Practice. Role:Co-PI $1,635,115 Completed

Grant: #NSF DRL-1114674 Investigators:Carr, V. 10-01-2011 -09-30-2014 National Science Foundation. Playscapes: Designed Nature Environments to Promote Informal Science Learning. Role:Co-PI $330,123 Completed

Investigators:O'Brien, B. A., Holland, S., Horowitz-Kraus, T., & Brown, R. D. 2012 -2013 University of Cincinnati, University Research Council. The Ability of Executive Functions and Reading to Improve following Reading Intervention among Children with Reading Disability: An fMRI study. Role:Co-PI $25,000 Completed

Investigators:Brown, R. D., Schmithorst, V. J., & Kroeger, L. A. 2011 -2012 Cincinnati Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Imaging Research Center. Neural Correlates of Mathematics Cognition and Specific Learning Difficulties. Role:Co-PI $12,125 Completed

Investigators:Foskuhl, C., & Brown, R. D. 2011 College of Education, Criminal Justice, & Human Services Undergraduate Student & Faculty Research Mentoring Grant. Examining Relations between Achievement and Neural Correlates of Mathematics Cognition. Role:Faculty Sponsor $1,000

Investigators:Brown, R. D. 2010 University of Cincinnati, University Research Council. Neural Correlates of Mathematics Cognition and Specific Learning Difficulties. Role:PI $6,500 Completed

Investigators:Diehl, L. A., & Brown, R. D. 2008 College of Education, Criminal Justice, & Human Services Graduate Student & Faculty Research Mentoring Grant. Co-Morbidity of Reading and Mathematical Disability: An Examination of a Long-Term Memory Deficit in the Auditory Verbal Code. Role:Faculty Sponsor $750

Investigators:Brown, R. D. 2000 University of Cincinnati, University Research Council. Disentangling the Effects of Imagery on Memory Accuracy and Reality Monitoring. Role:PI $4,300 Completed

Investigators:Brown, R. D., & Johnson, L. J. 2000 Ohio Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood Education. Ohio Indicators of Success. Role:Co-PI $104,000 Completed

Investigators:Johnson, L. J., & Brown, R. D. 1999 Ohio Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood Education. Ohio Indicators of Success. Role:Co-PI $99,250 Completed

Abbreviated Publications


Brown, R. D. (2018). Neuroscience of mathematical cognitive development: From infancy through emerging adulthood. New York, NY: Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76409-2

Peer Reviewed Publications

Lindberg, R., & Brown, R. D. (2020). Model for effective asynchronous online discussion within the community of inquiry framework. Journal for Research and Practice in College Teaching, 5(1), 126-157. https://journals.uc.edu/index.php/jrpct/article/view/1456

Vaughn, A. R., Brown, R. D., & Johnson, M. L. (2020). Understanding conceptual change and science learning through educational neuroscience. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14(2), 82-93. https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12237

Kloos, H., Maltbie, C., Brown, R. D., & Carr, V. (2018). Listening in: Spontaneous teacher talk on playscapes. Creative Education, 9(3), 426-441. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2018.93030

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. https://doi.org/10.1089/eco.2018.0042

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22152

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. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.2.0082

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. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.27.2.0025

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. https://doi.org/10.4172/2472-1786.100050 

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. Early Education and Development, 23(1), 37-58. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2012.617289

Luken, E., Carr, V., & Brown, R. D. (2012). Playscapes: Designs for play, exploration, and science inquiry. Children, Youth and Environments, 21(2), 325-337. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.21.2.0325

Moyer, M. R., & Brown, R. D. (2011). Medical team training: Using simulation as a teaching strategy for groupwork. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 36(4), 330-351. https://doi.org/10.1080/01933922.2011.613900

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. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(2), 279-291. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326942dn2902_1

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. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(2), 321-340. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326942dn2902_3

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(1), 23-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2004.05.001

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(3), 1414-1420. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.03.021

Pretti-Frontczak, K., Kowalski, K., & Brown, R. D. (2002). Preschool teachers’ use of assessments and curricula: A statewide examination. Exceptional Children, 69(1), 109-123. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440290206900108

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(5), 421-433. https://doi.org/10.1002/1099-0720(200009)14:5<421::AID-ACP659>3.0.CO;2-4

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(2), 99-111. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532480xads0202_4

Bjorklund, D. F., & Brown, R. D. (1998). Physical play and cognitive development: Integrating activity, cognition, and education. Child Development, 69(3), 604-606. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1998.tb06229.x 

Brown, R. D., & Bjorklund, D. F. (1998). The biologizing of cognition, development, and education: Approach with cautious enthusiasm. Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), 355-373.

Douglas, R. N. (1996). Considering the witness in interviews. PSYCOLOQUY, 7 (21), witness-memory.7.douglas


Carr, V., Brown, R. D., Mehta, V., & Kochanowski, L. (2019). An appeal for designing safe, progressive, and transformative schools. Children, Youth and Environments, 29(2), 1-4. https://doi.org/​10.7721/chilyoutenvi.29.2.0001

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. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.1.0001

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. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.26.1.0001?

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. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.26.2.0001

Book Chapter

Kloos, H., Baker, H., Luken, E., Brown, R. D., Pfeiffer, D., & Carr, V. (2012). Preschoolers learning science: Myth or reality? In H. Kloos, B. J. Morris, & J. L. Amaral (Eds.), Current topics in children's learning and cognition (pp. 45-60). New York, NY: InTech Publishing. https://doi.org/10.5772/54119

Bjorklund, D. F., Dukes, C., & Brown, R. D. (2009). The development of memory strategies. In M. L. Courage & N. Cowan (Eds.), Studies in developmental psychology. The development of memory in infancy and childhood (2nd ed.) (pp. 145-175). Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Bjorklund, D. F., Brown, R. D., & Bjorklund, B. R. (2002). Children’s eyewitness memory: Changing reports and changing representations. In P. Graf & N. Ohta (Eds.), 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. In D. F. Bjorklund (Ed.), 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. In N. Cowan (Ed.), The development of memory in childhood (pp. 201-246). Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Conference/Workshop Proceedings

Brown, R. D., & Schmithorst, V. J. (2005). Empirical validation of the triple-code model of numerical processing using fMRI. In Proceedings of the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society, San Diego, CA.

Brown, R. D., Kowalski, K., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2003). Assessment as a mediator of parent-teacher partnerships. In The first eight years: Pathways to the future. Proceedings of Head Start’s 6th National Research Conference, 745-746.

Invited Publication

Brown, R. D. (2020). Brain study techniques. In R. Summers, C. Golden, L. Lashley, & E. Ailes (Eds.), Essays in Developmental Psychologyhttps://www.assessmentpsychologyboard.org/edp

Brown, R. D. (2020). David F. Bjorklund. In R. Summers, C. Golden, L. Lashley, & E. Ailes (Eds.), Essays in Developmental Psychologyhttps://www.assessmentpsychologyboard.org/edp

Brown, R. D. (2020). Mathematical skills. In R. Summers, C. Golden, L. Lashley, & E. Ailes (Eds.), Essays in Developmental Psychologyhttps://www.assessmentpsychologyboard.org/edp

Contact Information

P.O. Box 210105
Cincinnati  Ohio, 45221-0105
Phone: (513)556-3622