William Thompson
Assistant Professor
3324 BWW
Research Area: 
Accepting Students: 
  • whatshotResearch Description

    I am a cognitive scientist interested in understanding what makes human intelligence so open-ended and creative. With my students and collaborators I study the social foundations of higher cognitive abilities such as language, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and creative thinking.

    The goal of our research is to develop more complete models of the computational processes that arise in social networks as a consequence of human interaction and the transmission of knowledge from person to person. We combine behavioral experiments, computational modeling, and machine learning to study how these processes influence ways of thinking and communicating in the lab and in society.

  • placeSelected Publications

    Thompson, B., Opheusden, B. van, Sumers, T., & Griffiths, T. L. (2022). Complex cognitive algorithms preserved by selective social learning in experimental populations. Science, 376(6588), 95–98. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abn0915

    Hardy, M. D., Thompson, B. D., Krafft, P. M., & Griffiths, T. L. (2022). Bias amplification in experimental social networks is reduced by resampling. arXiv preprint arXiv:2208.07261. https://arxiv.org/abs/2208.07261 

    Thompson, B., Roberts, S. G., & Lupyan, G. (2020). Cultural influences on word meanings revealed through large-scale semantic alignment. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(10), 1029–1038. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0924-8

  • filter_dramaTeaching