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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 the evolution of cognition and information and their relation to language, wellbeing, memory, and decision making.

My research involves using sizable data, network science, and machine learning.

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. I am also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society.

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

Masters of reality: the evolution of shamanism, published in Aeon.

Publications and pdfs

Representative Journal Publications:

  • Hills, T.T. (2019). Neurocognitive free will. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Online here.
  • Herzog, S., & Hills, T. T. (2019) Mediation centrality in adversarial policy networks. Complexity. Article in press.
  • Hills, T.T. (2018). The dark side of information proliferation. Perspectives on Psychological Science. Advanced online publication.
  • 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