Helen Elizabeth Davis portrait
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Anthropology Department


  • BA , Anthropology and Art History, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • MS , Human Evolutionary Ecology , University of New Mexico
  • PhD , Evolutionary Anthropology , University of New Mexico


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow, specifically working with the Spatial Cognition and Navigation Project (SCAN).  My primary research interests lie in the effects of formal education and environmental learning on child development. My work focuses on small-scale societies, namely the Tsimane of Bolivia, but collaborations at the University of Utah have allowed me to begin investigating these interests among the Yucatec Maya and the Twe of Namibia. 

Specific projects I am currently working include:

  • Range size, spatial ability, and cognitive performance during adolescence and adulthood.
  • The effects of parental embodied capital, living environment, and SES on child health and educational performance within transitioning populations.
  • The causal role of formal education versus traditional pedagogies on cognitive performance across the lifecourse. 

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