Meet our research team


Katharine Tillman, PhD


Katharine received her PhD in Psychology from the University of California San Diego in 2017, where she studied language acquisition and cognitive development in children. In 2018 she joined the Department of Psychology at UT-Austin as an Assistant Professor, where she heads up the Austin Thought Lab.

Her research interests include conceptual development, psychology of time, numerical and spatial cognition, abstract word learning, causal reasoning, and interactions between language, perception, and culture during child development. 


Katharine hails from Statesboro, GA, and in her teens spent six months hitch-hiking around the US.

Download CV, request a letter of recommendation, follow Katharine on Twitter or visit her personal website.


James Daly


Jimmy graduated from Stanford University in 2017. As an honors student in the Social Learning Lab, he completed a thesis on generic language and exploratory play. He became a lab coordinator in the Bauer Memory Development Lab at Emory University, where he researched memory integration, metacognition and conceptual development. 

His research interests include language, belief and conceptual development.


Jimmy’s hometown is Lima, Peru, and he prides himself on his homemade ketchup.

Dougherty Cole.jpg

Cole Dougherty


Cole graduated from the University of Maryland 2018 with a BA in Psychology. As an undergraduate, he was a research assistant in Jonathan Beier’s Lab for Early Social Cognition and worked on projects examining prosocial behavior in preschoolers. In the future, he plans to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology. 

His research interests include cognitive development, conceptual development, and social cognition. 


Cole calls Pennsville, NJ home, and can name the first 350 Pokémon, mostly in order.

Follow Cole on Twitter.


Research Assistants


Join our team


Interested in becoming a research assistant in our lab?

Are you curious about the mind? Do you like to think about big questions and get lost in thought? Do you enjoy both science and the humanities? If so, Austin Thought may be for you. 

We're cognitive scientists at UT-Austin who want to understand abstract, uniquely-human thought. Many of our studies are developmental, meaning we look to children for insights into how adults come to think about things the way we do. 

If you are interested in joining the lab as an undergraduate research assistant, fill out the application below. Prospective graduate students or postdocs, please contact