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Thomas Hills (Professor)


Thomas Hills

Cognitive Search, MIT Press

Cognitive Search: Evolution Algorithms and the Brain. MIT Press.


As a behavioural and data scientist, I am interested in quantitative approaches to language, wellbeing, memory, and decision making.

My work involves using 'big data' to understand psychological change over cultural time; understanding language learning using network analysis; computational modeling of memory representations and age-related cognitive decline; and information search in decison making.

Contact Details

Publications and pdfs

My top 10 science-based study skills for students here.

Warwick's Global Research Priority in Behavioural Science

Pursuing a PhD bridging the mathematical and social sciences? see Bridges-Levehulme Doctoral Training Centre

Representative Publications:

Engelthaler, T. & Hills, T. (In press). Feature biases in early word learning: Network distinctiveness predicts age of acquisition. Cognitive Science.

Hills, T.T., Proto, E., & Srgoi, D. (2015). Historical analysis of national subjective wellbeing using millions of digitized books. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9195.

Noguchi, T., & Hills, T.T. (2015). Experience-based decisions in large set sizes favor riskier alternatives. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. Advanced online publication: DOI: 10.1002/bdm.1893

Hills, T.T., & Adelman, J. (2015). Recent evolution in the learnability of American English from 1800 to 2000. Cognition, 143, 87-92.

Hills, T.T., Todd, P.M., & Jones, M.N. (2015) Foraging in semantic fields: How we search through memory. Topics in Cognitive Science. Article first published online: 22 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/tops.12151

Jones, M.N., Hills, T.T., & Todd, P.M. (2015). Hidden processes in structural representations: A reply to Abbot, Austerweil, and Griffiths (2015). Psychological Review, 122, 570-574.

Bilson, S., Yoshida, H., Tran, C., Woods, E., & Hills, T. (2015). Semantic facilitation in bilingual first language acquisition. Cognition, 140, 122-134.

Hills, T. & Butterfill, S. (2015). From foraging to autonoetic consciousness: The primal self as a consequence of embodied prospective foraging. Current Zoology, 61, 368-381.

Hills, T. (2015). Crowdsourcing content creation in the classroom. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Published online: DOI 10.1007/s12528-015-9089-2

Hills, T., Todd, P., Lazer, D., Redish, A., Couzin, I., and the Cognitive Search Research Group* (*Bateson, M., Cools, R., Dukas, R., Giraldeau, L., Macy, M.W., Page, S.E., Shiffrin, R.M., Stephens, D.W., Uzzi, B., Wolfe, J.W.) (2015). Exploration versus exploitation in space, mind, and society. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 46-54.

Sanborn, A., & Hills, T. (2014). The frequentist implications of optional stopping on Bayesian hypothesis tests. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 21, 283-300.

Wulff, D., Hills, T., & Hertwig, R. (2014). Online product reviews and the description-experience gap. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. doi: 10.1002/bdm.1841.