Marcie Penner-Wilger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor



What courses do you currently teach?
  • PSY 2135 Intro to Cognition
  • PSY 2840 Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSY 4693 Collaborative Research in Applications of Psychological Science (new in the fall)
What are your areas of research?

I am trained as a cognitive scientist and study numerical cognition in children and adults. I am interested in why some people are better at math than others, identifying which children are at risk for developing math difficulties and in designing interventions to help students struggling with math.

Are you working on any current research projects?

I have an active numerical cognition lab where my students and I use a variety of methods from cognitive science (studies with children and adults, brain imaging data and computational models) to investigate the development of numeracy skills. As part of this research, we are developing tools to assess and predict children’s numeracy skills early on, in kindergarten and first grade. This past semester, we pilot tested iPad apps developed in our lab. Using tools like these research-based apps, we are able to predict which children will struggle to gain numeracy skills, and even which skills they will struggle with. The ultimate goal of this research is to create individualized interventions to help struggling math students.

How does your program make a difference?

Knowledge about psychology helps students better understand themselves and others. The material that students learn in class is directly applicable to their own lives, whether it is how to study more effectively, how to make better decisions, or how to be happier in their lives.

What do you enjoy about working at King’s?

My favorite part of my job at King’s is mentoring students, both in my classes and in my research lab. I enjoy teaching students to think empirically and that the human mind doesn’t work the way they think it does. I enjoy challenging students to apply their knowledge in creative and personally meaningful ways.

What are your interests outside of King’s?

I am a voracious reader – I love to sit in the backyard or a favorite cafe with a cup of tea and a good book. I participate in a book club and usually have a few non-fiction books and at least one novel on the go at all times.

I play in the Western curling league. I am a terrible curler, but I like the sportsmanship and social aspect of the game.

I enjoy going to the theatre, whether it is a play at The Grand or a trip to Stratford.

I have two miniature dachshunds, Cassie and Winston, who ensure that I don’t take life too seriously.

Do you have any other thoughts on your department and what makes it unique at King’s?

The psychology department has an honors specialization module, where students complete an honors thesis. This is a wonderful opportunity for students interested in going on to graduate school to complete all aspects of an independent research project on a topic of interest with direct supervision from a professor.