Angeline Lillard
Professor of Psychology

140S Gilmer Hall

Research Areas: 

Social and cognitive development, Montessori education, children’s play


Montessori: The Science behind the Genius


See lab website for most recent list of publications.
  • Lillard A. S. & Taggart, J. (in press). Reimagining Assessment in a Large Lecture: Alternative Assessment Inspired by Thomas Jefferson and Maria Montessori. College Teaching.
  • Eisen, S. L., Taggart, J., Salehi, P., Liller, A., & Lillard, A. S. (in press). Children prefer fantasy, but not anthropomorphism, in their storybooks. Journal of Cognition and Development.
  • Basargekar, A*., & Lillard, A. S. (in press). Motivation and Self-Determination in Montessori Education. In E. T. Ahlquist, M. Debs, M. McKenna, & A. K. Murray (Eds.), Bloomsbury Handbook of Montessori Education. Bloomsbury Publishing. 
  • LeBoeuf, L.*, Snyder, A.*, & Lillard, A. S. (in press). “My Name Is Sally Brown, and I Hate School!”: A Retrospective Study of School Liking Among Conventional and Montessori School Alumni. Psychology in the Schools. Published online 2022.
  • Lillard, A. S., Taggart, J.*, Yonas, D*., & Seale, M. N. (in press). An alternative to “no excuses”: Considering Montessori as culturally responsive pedagogy. Journal of Negro Education
  • Lillard, A. S. (2022). Ignored no more: The second century of Montessori Education. In J. de Brouwer & P. Sins (Eds.), Perspective on Montessori. Saxion Progressive Education University Press. 
  • Lillard, A. S. (2022). Pretending at hand: How children perceive and process puppets. Cognitive Development, 63
  • Skyview, A. M*., Beeler-Dudena, S*., Goldstein, A. M., Gancaycob, C. A., Lillard, A. S., Connelly, J. J., & Morris, J. P. (2022). Neuroepigenetic impact on mentalizing in childhood. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 54, 101080.
  • Lillard, A. (2022). Materials: What Belongs in a Montessori Primary Classroom? Results from a Survey of AMI and AMS Teacher Trainers. Montessori pedagogy and education. Translated to Greek from Montessori Life, 22(3), 18-32. 
  • Lillard, A. S., Meyer, M. J., Vasc, D.*, & Fukuda, E.* (2021). An association between Montessori education in  childhood and adult wellbeing. Frontiers in Psychology, 12:721943. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.721943 
    • Written up in Forbes, Psychology Today, and many local publications (e.g., New Orleans’ The Big Easy magazine)
  • Sidera, F., Lillard, A. S., Amado, A., Caparros, B., Rostan, C., & Serrat, E. (2021). Pretending emotions in the early years: The role of language and symbolic play. Infancy
  • Snyder, A*., Tong, X., & Lillard, A. S. (2021). Standardized test performance in public Montessori schools. Journal of School Choice, 16(1), 105-135.
    • Reprinted in AMI Communications, 2022
  • Hopkins, E. H*., & Lillard, A. S. (2021). A Magic School Bus problem: How fantasy affects children’s learning from stories. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 210. Doi:
  • Golino, H., Christensen, A.*, Becker, I.*, & Lillard, A. S. (2021). Investigating the structure of the children’s concentration and empathy scale using exploratory graph analysis. Psychological Test Adaptation and Development. Doi: 10.1027/2698-1866/a000008
  • Basargekar, A*., & Lillard, A. S. (2021). Math Achievement Outcomes Associated with Montessori Education. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 1207-1218.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2021). Montessori as an Alternative Early Childhood Education. Early Child Development and Care191(7-8), 1196-1206.
  • Taggart, J.*, Becker, I. *, Rauen, J. *, Al Kallas, H. *, & Lillard, A. S. (2020). What shall we do: Pretend or real? Preschoolers’ choices and parents’ perceptions. Journal of Cognition and  Development, 21(2), 261-281. 10.1080/15248372.2019.1709469 
  • Taggart, J. *, Ellwood, M. C. *, Vasc, D. *, Chin, S. J.*, & Lillard, A. S. (2020). Parents’ roles and question-asking during pretend and real activities. Social Development
  • Vasc., D.*, & Lillard, A. S. (2020). Pretend and Sociodramatic Play. In S. Hupp & J. Jewell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. New York: Wiley.
  • Eisen, S., & Lillard, A. S. (2020). Learning from Apps and Objects: The Human Touch. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14(1), 16-23. 
  • Taggart, J.*, Eisen, S.*, & Lillard, A. S. (2019). The current landscape of US children’s television:  Prosocial, educational, fantastical, and violent content. Journal of Children and Media, 13, 276-294.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2019). Shunned and Admired: Montessori, Self-Determination, and a Case for Radical School Reform. Educational Psychology Review, 31, 939-65. doi: 10.1007/s10648-019-09483-3. 
    • 2nd most downloaded article of 2019 among all Springer/Nature Education journals. 
    • Featured in Nature’s Science of Learning Research Roundup.
  • Li, H.*, Eisen, S.* & Lillard, A. S. (2019). Anthropomorphic Media Exposure and Preschoolers' Anthropomorphic Thinking in China. Journal of Children and Media, 13(2), 149-162 doi:
  • Lillard, A. S., & McHugh, V. (2019). Authentic Montessori: The Dottoressa’s View at the End of Her Life Part I: The Environment. Journal of Montessori Research, 5(1), 1-18. doi:
  • Lillard, A. S., & McHugh, V. (2019). Authentic Montessori: The Dottoressa’s View at the End of Her Life Part II: The Teacher and the Child. Journal of Montessori Research, 5(1), 19-34. doi: 
  • Lillard, A. S., & Taggart, J.* (2019). Pretend play and fantasy: What if Montessori was right? Child Development Perspectives, 13(2), 85-90. doi:
    • Selected for the Society for Research in Child Development’s special cross-191 journal virtual Covid-19 issue on The Science of Learning and Teaching at Home, April-July 2020.


  • University of Virginia Research Achievement Award, 2021
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020
  • Faculty Mentor for Psi Chi and APS Albert Bandura Graduate Research Award recipient (Sierra Eisen), 2016-17
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association, 2011, and Association for Psychological Science, 2006
  • Cognitive Development Society Book Award, 2006, for Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius
  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellow, 2005-2006
  • American Psychological Association Boyd McCandless Young Scientist Award, 1999 and Outstanding Dissertation Award, 1992