University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM Ph.D. Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Anthropology

University of New Mexico, M.Sc. Human Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Anthropology

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO B.A. Department of Anthropology



Project 1: The Cultural Foundations of Cognition: Investigating the causal effects of education on cognition and culture in transitioning populations.

Project 2: Range size and spatial abilities during adolescence: ecological variation, sex-specific task delegation, and mate seeking strategies may influence emerging gaps between the sexes.                  

Project 3: Cognitive performance, aging, and senescence among Bolivian forager-farmers with limited schooling.

Project 4: Learning to learn: teaching and learning between peers and siblings in forager populations.


June 1, 2018-present Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge

October 1, 2018-present Founder and CEO, One Pencil Project 501(c)(3), University of Utah and Harvard University, USA

January 15, 2016-May 31, 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow. Project for Spatial Cognition and Navigation (SCAN) & The Maya Project. Departments of Anthropology & Psychology. University of Utah, Salt Lake City

July 1, 2007- December 31, 2013 Graduate Assistant and Researcher. Tsimané Health and Life History Project. University of New Mexico & University of California-Santa Barbara

2009 & 2011 Graduate Assistant in Program Development. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque


Davis, HE & Cashdan, E. (2019) Spatial cognition, navigation, and mobility among children in a forager-horticulturalist population, the Tsimané of Bolivia. Cognitive Development, 52. Cognitive Development, 52.

Davis, HE. & Cashdan, E. You Don’t Have to Know Where Your Kids Are, Just Where They Aren’t: Exploring Free- Range Parenting in the Bolivian Amazon. Parents and Caregivers Across Cultures: Positive Development from Infancy through Adulthood. Eds. Ashdown, B. and Faherty, A. New York, NY: Springer.

Broesch, T., Barrett, H.C., Gergely, G., Henrich, J., Broesch, J., Davis, HE, Gurven, M., Kanovsky, M., McElreath, R., Olah, K., Schug, M., von Rueden, C., Laurence, S. Cross-cultural evidence for a universal capacity for interactive pedagogy (under review).

Ruginski, I., Stepanucci, Crittenden, A., Kramer, K., Greaves, R., Sugiyama, L., Davis, HE., Creem-Regehr, Cashdan, E. The MRTX: A chronometric mental rotation task accessible across age and culture (under review).

Davis, H., Stieglitz, J., Kaplan, H, and Gurven, M. Schooling increases children’s cognitive performance in the short- and longer-term among forager-horticulturalists with limited schooling and wealth. (submitted).

Schacht, R., Davis, H., Kramer, K. Patterning of paternal investment in response to socioecological change. (2018) Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution. 6: 142.

Davis, H. & Cashdan, E (2018) Spatial cognition and mobility among children in two traditional and transitioning populations, the Tsimane of Bolivia and the Twe of Namibia. Cognitive Processing. 19, S9-S9.

Gurven, M., Stieglitz, J., Trumble, B., Blackwell, A., Beheim, B., Hooper, P., Davis, H., Kaplan, H. (2017) The Tsimané Health and Life History Project: Integrating anthropology and biomedicine Evolutionary Anthropology. 26:54.

Gurven, M., Stieglitz, J., Trumble, B., Davis, H., Kaplan, H. (2017) Cognitive performance across the life course of Bolivian forager-farmers with limited schooling. Developmental
. 53(1): 160-176.

Cashdan, E., Kramer, K., Davis, H., Padilla, L., Greaves, R. (2016) Mobility and navigation
among the Yucatec Maya: Sex differences reflect parental investment, not mating
competition. Human Nature 27(1): 35-50.


Davis, H., Lucca, K., Mayer, K., Stieglitz, J., Henrich, J. Group organization and cultural transmission networks across childhood: evidence from Tsimane, forager-horticulturalists.

Davis, H., Cashdan, E., Kaplan, H., Gurven, M. Do navigational demands decrease patterns of cognitive decline: The Tsimané of Bolivia and high lifetime mobility.

Lew-Levy, S., Reckin, R., Stephen, K., Boyette, A., Crittenden, A., Hagen, R., Kramer, K., Koster, J., O’Briend, M, Pretelli, I., Surovell, T., Stieglitz, J., Tucker, B., Lavi, N., Ellis-Davies, K., Davis, H. (corresponding author), Child and adolescent time allocation to work and play in foraging societies.

Moya, C., Fessler, D., Henrich, J., Zhao, W., Barrett, C., Bolyanatz, A., Davis, H., Gurven, M., Kanovsky, M., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A., Scelza, B., von Rueden, C., Laurence, S. Norm enforcement in small-scale societies depends on coordinated third party responses and pre-existing relationships.


2019  Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium. University of California, Berkeley

Talk: Identifying the Cultural Foundations of Human Cognition: The effects of formal schooling on cognitive performance and child development.

2018  Mind, Brain, Behavior. Harvard University.

Talk: Identifying the Cultural Foundations of Human Cognition: The effects of formal schooling on cognitive performance and child development.

2018 Distinguished Leigh Lecture. University of Utah-College of Arts and Sciences

Talk: Variation in childhood mobility, ecologies, and formal education challenge sex                 differences in spatial abilities as a human universal.

2017  Association of Psychological Science

Panel: Education and Intelligence: Understanding their Reciprocal Relationship & Talk: The effect of formal schooling on cognitive performance in a traditional and transitioning population, the Tsimané of Bolivia

2016 Specialist Meeting—Universals and Variation in Spatial Referencing

Talk: Adaptive Flexibility in Spatial Referencing

2015 University College London –Department of Anthropology

Talk: Diverging strategies within the Yucatec Maya: education, wealth, and variation in fertility decisions

2014 University of Missouri-Department of Anthropology

Talk: Social learning, formal schooling, and cognitive task performance among a forager- farming population



2019     Postdoctoral Award—Human Behavior and Evolution Society

2019     Diverse Intelligences Research Institute (DISI), St. Andrews University

2018     Best New Investigator EAS-American Anthropology Association (AAA)

2018     Best Paper Award, International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR)

2018     Distinguished Leigh Lecture, University of Utah

2013     Graduate Scholars Award, University of New Mexico

2010     Frieda Butler Award for Outstanding Masters’ Research, University of New Mexico


2019 The Spencer Foundation ($50,000 USD)

2019 Mind, Brain, Behavior ($50,000 USD)

2017 Postdoc fellowship is funded on: PQ21 (NSF-1628583, Dr. Elizabeth Cashdan PI)

2015 Latin American and Iberian Institute Field Research Grant (8,800 USD)

2013 Student Research and Allocations Committee Grants (2,500 USD)

2010 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Interfaces Scholar—Program for Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Science (23,000 USD)

Grants submitted

2019 Spencer Foundation Large Research Grant ($500,000 USD)


2019    Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Boston, USA.

Talk: “Spatial cognitive ability, mobility, and formal education among the Tsimane of Bolivia.”

2018    American Anthropology Association, San Jose, USA.

Talk: “Spatial cognitive ability, exploration, and formal education in traditional and transitioning populations.”

2018    International Society for Intelligence Research, Edinburgh, Scotland

Talk: “A Flynn Effect among forager-horticulturalists with variable access to schooling” (Co-authors: Stuart Ritchie & Michael Gurven)

2018    Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Talk: “Do sex differences in spatial ability, mobility, and harm avoidance persist outside the West?” (Co-authors: Elizabeth Cashdan)

2016    International Society for Intelligence Research, St Petersburg, Russia

Talk: “Cognitive task performance and spatial abilities among children in a traditional and transitioning.” (Co-authors: Elizabeth Cashdan)

2016    Spatial Cognition X, Philadelphia, PA

Talk: Spatial Cognition and learning among children and adults in a traditional and transitioning population. (Co-Authors: Michael Gurven & Elizabeth Cashdan)

2015    American Anthropological Association, Austin, TX

Talk: Evidence of Diverging Strategies within Transitioning Populations: Education, Wealth, and Fertility Differentials. (Co-authors: Karen Kramer)

2015    International Society for Intelligence Research, Albuquerque, NM

Talk: Cognition and learning among children and adults in two traditional and transitioning populations. (Co-authors: Elizabeth Cashdan & Karen Kramer)

2015    Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Columbia, MO

Talk: Education and Fertility Decisions within the Tsimané of Bolivia and the Yucatec Maya. (Co-authors: Karen Kramer & Michael Gurven)

2014    International Society for Intelligence Research, Graz, Austria

Talk: Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM) at the lower end of the educational continuum: assessing variation among the Tsimané, a traditional and transitioning population. (Co-authors: Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard Kaplan & Michael Gurven)