Koleen McCrink

Associate Professor of Psychology





Koleen McCrink, associate professor of psychology, joined the faculty in 2009. Before coming to Barnard, she held a postdoctoral research position at Harvard University and has also taught at Yale University and Rutgers University. At Barnard, she teaches developmental psychology, introductory psychology, and a cognitive development seminar. 

Professor McCrink’s research focuses on the development of spatial and numerical cognition from infancy through adulthood. She has been funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development via awards 1R15 HD77518-01A1, 1R15HD065629-01, and 1R15HD096363-01.

  • B.A., Douglass College, Rutgers University
  • M.A., M.Ph., Ph.D., Yale University

  • Cognitive development
  • Mathematical and Spatial Cognition

Dr. McCrink has received the Presidential Research Award from Barnard College, the James Grossman Prize for best dissertation in psychology from Yale University, and a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Braham*, E., Libertus, M. & McCrink, K. (2018). Increasing children’s spontaneous focus on number through guided parent-child interactions in a children’s museum. Developmental Psychology, 54(8):1492-1498.

McCrink, K. & de Hevia, M.D. (2018). From innate spatial biases to enculturated spatial cognition: The case of spatial associations in number and other sequences. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(415), doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00415.

McCrink, K. & Hubbard, T. (2017). Dividing attention increases operational momentum. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 3(2), 230–245. doi:10.5964/jnc.v3i2.34

Macchi Cassia, V., Bulf, H., McCrink, K., & de Hevia , M.D. (2017). Operational momentum during ordering operations for size and number in 4-month-old infants. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 3(2), 270–287, doi:10.5964/jnc.v3i2.67

Göbel, S., McCrink, K., Fischer, M., & Shaki, S. (2017). Observation of directional storybook reading influences young children's counting direction. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166, 49-66.

Opfer, J. & McCrink, K. (2017). How not to develop a sense of number. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, e184.

Polinsky*, N., Grehl*, M., Perez, J., & McCrink, K. (2017). Encouraging spatial talk: Using children’s museums to bolster spatial reasoning. Mind, Brain, and Education. Early View at: doi:10.1111/mbe.12145.

McCrink, K. & Caldera*, C., & Shaki, S. (2017). The Early Construction of Spatial Attention: Culture, Space, and Gesture in Parent–Child Interactions. Child Development. Early View at: doi:10.1111/cdev.12781

McCrink, K., Perez, J. & Baruch*, E. (2017). Number prompts left-to-right spatial mapping in toddlerhood. Developmental Psychology, 53(7), 1256-1264.

McCrink, K., Shafto, P. & Barth, H. (2016). The relationship between non-symbolic multiplication and division in childhood. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(4), 686-702.

Rugani, R., McCrink, K., de Hevia, M.D., Vallortigara, G., & Regolin, L. (2016). Ratio calculations over discrete magnitudes by newly hatched domestic chicks (gallus gallus). Scientific Reports, 6, 30114.

McCrink, K. & Shaki, S. (2016). Culturally Inconsistent Spatial Structure Reduces Learning.  Acta Psychologica, 169, 20-26.

Macchi Cassia, V., McCrink, K., de Hevia, M.D., Gariboldi, V., & Bulf, H. (2016). Operational Momentum and size ordering in preverbal infants.  Psychological Research. DOI 10.1007/s00426-016-0750-9

McCrink, K. & Spelke, E. (2016). Non-symbolic division in childhood. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 142, pp 66-82.

McCrink, K., & Galamba*, J. (2015). The impact of symbolic and non-symbolic quantity on spatial learning. PLoS One.

McCrink, K., & Opfer, J. (2014). Development of Spatial-Numerical Associations.  Current Directions in Psychological Science. 23(6), 439-445.

McCrink, K., Shaki, S. & Berkowitz*, T. (2014). Culturally-Driven Biases in Preschoolers’ Spatial Search Strategies. Cognitive Development, 30, 1-14.

Knops, A., Zitzmann, S. & McCrink, K. (2013). Examining the presence and determinants of operational momentum in childhood. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(325), doi: 10.3389/ fpsyg.2013.00325.

McCrink, K., Pica, P., Spelke, E.S., & Dehaene, S. (2013). Non-Symbolic Halving in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Developmental Science, 16(3), 451-462.

McCrink, K. & Spelke, E. (2010). Core multiplication in childhood.  Cognition, 116, 204-216.

McCrink, K., & Wynn, K. (2009) Operational momentum in large-number addition and subtraction by 9-month-old infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104, 400-408.

McCrink, K., Bloom, P. & Santos, L. (2009) Children’s and adults’ judgments of equitable resource distributions. Developmental Science, 13(1), 37-45.

McCrink, K., Dehaene, S., & Dehaene-Lambertz, G. (2007) Moving along the number line: The case for operational momentum. Perception and Psychophysics, 69(8), 1324-1333.

McCrink, K. & Wynn, K. (2007) Ratio abstraction by 6-month-old infants. Psychological Science, 18, 740-746.

vanMarle, K., Aw, J., McCrink, K. & Santos, L. (2006) How capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) quantify objects and substances.  Journal of Comparative Psychology, 120(4), pp. 416-426.

McCrink, K. & Wynn, K. (2004) Large-number addition and subtraction by 9-month-old infants.  Psychological Science, 15, 776-781.

In The News

With only 2% of STEM jobs held by Black women nationwide, Barnard community members discuss the importance of mentoring and retaining Black women who are interested in the sciences.

February 8, 2021

The Summer Colloquium kept 350 community members virtually connected with more than 80 programs and events around career opportunities.

August 21, 2020

Since last May, Barnard faculty members were awarded major research grants that support a diverse array of interests, enabling them to continue existing studies and support collaborations with other institutions.

October 9, 2018

Barnard College presented the faculty with awards to honor their commitment to exceptional teaching and research.

May 11, 2018

The Summer Research Institute of 2017 supported student-faculty STEM collaborative work for 147 Barnard students.

August 23, 2017

A new study in Child Development, co-authored by a Barnard professor and a Barnard alumna, has shown that the development of spatial cognition—how infants and toddlers learn to encounter the world’s wealth of information—is heavily tied to the cultural norms of their caregivers.


April 25, 2017