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Thomas Hills (Professor)


Thomas Hills

Cognitive Search, MIT Press

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


As a computational psychologist, my research focuses on using statistical and model-based approaches to quantifying the interface between mind and environment. I am interested in how we learn language, how language changes over our lifetime, how we navigate complex environments both inside and outside of our heads, and what this means for the decisions we make.

This work has been applied to understanding the evolution of cognition and consciousness, the way bilingual children and late talkers learn language, how older adults search their memory, and why more choices can lead to riskier decisions.

Publications and pdfs

Warwick's Global Research Priority in Behavioural Science

Representative Publications:

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.



Tel: (024) 765 23183


Fax: (024) 765 24225


Room No: H134


Email: T dot T dot Hills at warwick dot ac dot uk