Elizabeth M. Brannon

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Chair in the Natural Sciences
Director of Undergraduate Studies
BA, Biological Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
MA, Biological Anthropology, Columbia University
Ph.D., Psychology, Columbia University
Office Location: 
Room 356, Levin Building, 425 S. University Ave.
Research Interests: 

Animal Learning and Behavior; Behavioral Neuroscience; Developmental Psychology; Memory and Learning

Specific Research Areas:

Comparative Cognition; Numerical Cognition;Educational Neuroscience


Dr. Brannon's research program examines the evolution and development of quantitative cognition. She studies how adult humans, infants, young children and nonhuman animals without language represent number. She uses behavioral techniques, event-related potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and single-unit physiology to explore the cognitive and neural underpinnings of numerical cognition in nonhuman primates and throughout the human lifespan.  A major current focus is to study how training the primitive number sense might facilitate mathematical abilities in children and adults.

Selected Publications: 

DeWind, N.K., G.K. Adams, Platt, M.L. Brannon, E. M., (2015). Modeling the approximate number system; Quantifying the contribution of visual stimulus features,  Cognition, 142, 247-265.

Drucker, C., & Brannon, E. M. (2014). Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) map number onto space, Cognition, 132(1), 57-67. PMCID: PMC4031030.

Park, J., & Brannon, E. M. (2014). Improving arithmetic performance with number sense training: An investigation of underlying mechanism,Cognition, 133(1), 188-200. NIHMSID: NIHMS614955.

Pinhas, M., Woldorff, M., & Brannon, E.M. (2014). Electrophysiological evidence for the involvement of the approximate number system in preschoolers’ processing of spoken number words, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(9), 1891-1904. NIHMSID: 621122

Starr, A., Libertus, M.E., & Brannon, E.M. (2013). Infants show ratio dependent discrimination regardless of set size, Infancy, 18(6), 1-15. PMCID: PMC3864890

Cantlon, J.F., Platt, M.L., & Brannon, E.M. (2009). Beyond the number domain.  Invited review. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(2), 83-91.  PMCID: PMC2709421.

Courses Taught: 
  • PSYC 181 Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 480 Seminar in Developmental Psychology


  • Stephanie Bugden [postdoc]
  • Nick DeWind [postdoc]
  • Emily Szudlarek [grad student]