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Thomas Hills (Professor)

Thomas Hills

Cognitive Search, MIT Press

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

email: t.t.hills (at)

tel: (024) 765 23183



I am interested in algorithmic approaches to understanding language, wellbeing, memory, and decision making.

My research involves using big(ish) data, network science, and machine learning to understanding the human condition.

Does my algorithm have a mental health problem, published in Aeon.

Publications and pdfs

I am the Director of the Bridges-Leverhulme Doctoral Training Centre, I initiated and lead the Behavioural and Data Science MSc, and I co-direct Warwick's Global Research Priority in Behavioural Science.

I am currently a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. The Turing Institute offer PhD studentships to work with its Fellows for exceptional candidates

Representative Publications:

  • Jagiello, R., & Hills, T.T. (2018). Bad news has wings: Dread risk mediates social amplification in risk communication. Risk Analysis, 38, 2193–2207.
  • Hills, T. T., & Siew, C. S. (2018). Filling gaps in early word learning. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(9), 622.
  • Engelthaler, T., & Hills, T. T. (2018). Humor norms for 4,997 English words. Behavior Research Methods, 50(3), 1116-1124.
  • Dubossarsky, H., De Deyne, S., & Hills, T. T. (2017). Quantifying the structure of free association networks across the life span. Developmental Psychology, 53(8), 1560.
  • Engelthaler, T. & Hills, T.T. (2017). Feature biases in early word learning: Network distinctiveness predicts age of acquisition. Cognitive Science, 41, 120-140.
  • Sgroi, D., Hills, T. T., O'Donnell, G., Oswald, A. J., & Proto, E. (2017). Understanding Happiness: A CAGE Policy Report. Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy.
  • Noguchi, T., & Hills, T.T. (2016). Description-experience gap in choice deferral. Decision, 3, 54-61.
  • Hills, T.T., Proto, E., & Srgoi, D. (2015). Historical analysis of national subjective wellbeing using millions of digitized books. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9195.
  • Hills, T.T., & Adelman, J. (2015). Recent evolution in the learnability of American English from 1800 to 2000. Cognition, 143, 87-92.
  • 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.T. (2015). Semantic facilitation in bilingual first language acquisition. Cognition, 140, 122-134.
  • Hills, T.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.T (2015). Crowdsourcing content creation in the classroom. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Published online: DOI 10.1007/s12528-015-9089-2

Download open access versions of publications

Supervisor to:

Li Ying
Eva Jimenez Mesa
Tomas Engelthaler
Shayan Shaikh