Influence of social interactions on cognitive development, Learning through joint play and activities in the classroom and home, Early mathematics and problem-solving skills, Family math context, Development of peer cooperation

Geetha Ramani is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. Before coming to the University of Maryland in 2008, Dr. Ramani received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Cognitive Development at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Ramani's research focuses on understanding how children's social interactions influence their cognitive development, mainly in the areas of mathematics and problem solving.  Specifically, Dr. Ramani examines how children learn early math and problem-solving skills through play and informal learning activities, such as playing with games and blocks. She also investigates how parent-child interactions, parental beliefs, and the early home environment can contribute to children's development in these areas. Dr. Ramani is also interested in the development and correlates of peer cooperation in young children. Together, Dr. Ramani's work focuses on the benefits and unique processes of learning through cooperation and joint play with adults and peers, and their importance for educational practices with young children. Dr. Ramani runs the Early Childhood Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland:

2019  Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland

2019  Excellence in Scholarship, College of Education, University of Maryland                 

2013  Graduate School Research and Scholarship Award, University of Maryland            

2004-2005  Provost Development Fund Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh       

2003-2004  Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship                                                                   

1998  Cum Laude, Bryn Mawr College                                                                             

1998  Psychology Major Honors, Bryn Mawr College                                                        


Wentzel, K., & Ramani, G. B. (Eds.) (2016).  Handbook of social influences in school contexts: Social-emotional, motivation, and cognitive outcomes. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Publishers. 

Select Chapters

Scalise, N. R., Gladstone, J. R., & Ramani, G. B. (2019).  Motivation and mathematics in early childhood.In O. Saracho (Ed.), Contemporary perspectives on research on motivation in early childhood education, (pp. 101-129)Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Ramani, G. B., Daubert, E. N., & Scalise, N. R. (2019).  Role of play and games in building children’s foundational numerical knowledge.  In D. C. Geary, D. B. Berch, & K. Mann Koepke (Eds.), Cognitive foundations for improving mathematical learning. Mathematical cognition and learning series, Vol 5 (pp. 69-90). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press. 

Ramani, G. B. (2017).  When world unite: Role of social interactions in children’s mathematical development.  In P. Lemair (Ed.) Cognitive Development from a Strategy Perspective: A Festschrift For Robert Siegler (pp. 61-77)New York, NY: Routledge.

Ramani, G. B., Zippert, E., & Daubert, E. (2016).  The influence of same- and cross-age peers on children’s literacy and mathematical development.  In K. Wentzel & G. B.  Ramani (Eds.), Handbook of social influences in school contexts: Social-emotional, motivation, and cognitive outcomes (pp. 96-112). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Publishers.

Select Journal Articles

Eason, S. H. & Ramani, G. B. (2020).  Parent-child math talk about fractions during formal learning and guided play activities.  Child Development, 9I(2), 546-562.

Ramani, G. B. & Scalise, N. (2020).  It's more than just fun and games: Play-based mathematics activities for Head Start families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 50(3), 78-89.

Scalise, N., Daubert, E. N., & Ramani, G. B. (2020).  Benefits of playing numerical card games on Head Start children's mathematical skills.  The Journal of Experimental Education, 88(2), 200-220.  

Daubert, E. N. & Ramani, G. B. (2019). Math and memory in bilingual preschoolers: The relations between bilingualism, working memory, and numerical knowledge.  Journal of Cognition and Development, 20(3), 314-333.

Ramani, G. B., Daubert, E. N., Lin, G. C., Kamarsu, S., Wodzinski, A., & Jaeggi, S. M. (2019). Racing dragons and remembering aliens: Benefits of playing number and working memory games on kindergartners’ numerical knowledge.  Developmental Science.  Advanced online publication.

Zippert, E., Eason, S. H., Marshall, S., & Ramani, G. B. (2019). Preschool children’s math exploration during play with peers.  Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 65, 101072.

Zippert, E. L., Daubert, E. N., Scalise, N., Noreen, G., & Ramani, G. B. (2019). “Tap space number three”: Promoting math talk during parent-child tablet play.  Developmental Psychology, 55(8), 1605-1614.

Daubert, E. N., Ramani, G. B., Rowe, M. L., Eason, S. H., & Leech, K. A. (2018). Sum thing to talk about: Caregiver-preschooler math talk in low-income families from the United States.  Bordon, Journal of Education.  Special Issue: Mathematics and the Science of Mathematics Education: Evidence from Difference Nations, 70(3), 115-130.  

Eason, S. H., & Ramani, G. B. (2017).  Parental scaffolding and children’s executive function: Working memory and planning as moderators during joint problem solving.  Infant and Child Development, 26(2), 1-24.  

Ramani, G. B., Jaeggi, S. M., Daubert, E., & Buschkuehl, M. (2017). Domain-general and domain-specific training to improve kindergarten children’s mathematics.  Journal of Numerical Cognition, 3(2), 468-495.  

Scalise, N., Daubert, E. N., & Ramani, G. B. (2017).  Narrowing the early mathematics gap: A play-based intervention to promote Head Start preschoolers' number skills.  Journal of Numerical Cognition, 3(3), 559-581.  

Zippert, E. & Ramani, G. B. (2017).  Parents’ estimations of preschoolers’ number skills relate to at-home number-related activity engagement.  Infant and Child Development, 26(2), 1-24.  

Ongoing Funding

2020 - 2023  NewSchools Venture Fund, EF+Math Program, Developing Low-cost Mobile App Technology to Assess Ability and Fluctuations in Executive Functions and Math Learning.  G. Ramani (PI); Subcontract with Washington University in St. Louis, D. Barbour (PI)

2020 - 2021 Faculty-Student Research Award (FSRA), UMD Graduate School.  Helping Hands: Promoting Math Talk and Gesture during Parent-Child Interactions.  G. Ramani (PI)

Completed Funding

7/2020-8/2020   Teaching Innovation Grant, University of Maryland.  Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education Cluster.  L. Trakhman (PI); G. Ramani, E Klein, & J. Lieber (Co-PIs).  

2017 - 2018  Spencer Foundation; G. Ramani (PI); It's More than Just Fun and Games: A Play-Based Mathematics Intervention for Head Start Families      

2017  Heising-Simons Foundation; G. Ramani (PI); Promoting Family Math Fluency in Families from Head Start: A Play-Based Mathematics  Intervention           

2016 - 2020  National Science Foundation (NSF; #1561447); G. Ramani (PI); S. Jaeggi (co-PI); Collaborative Research: Domain-General and Domain-Specific Training to Improve Children’s Mathematics

2015 - 2016  Spencer Foundation; G. Ramani (PI); Improving Low-income Children’s Symbolic and Non-symbolic Numerical Knowledge       

2015  Heising-Simons Foundation; G. Ramani (PI); Using Number Games to Promote Head Start Children’s Symbolic and Non-symbolic Number Skills             

2013-2014 - ADVANCE NSF Interdisciplinary and Engaged Seed Grant; G. Ramani (PI); S. Jaeggi (co-PI); Domain-General and Domain-Specific Training to Improve Children’s Numerical Knowledge and Working Memory       

EDHD 322: The Young Child as Mathematician, University of Maryland (undergraduate)

EDHD 411: Child Growth and Development, University of Maryland (undergraduate)

EDHD 460: Educational Psychology (undergraduate)

EDHD 721: Cognitive Development and Learning: An Introduction (graduate)

EDHD 779O: Where Worlds Meet: Social and Cognitive Development (graduate)