Angeline Lillard
Professor of Psychology

109 Gilmer Hall

Office Hours:

Research Areas: 

Social and cognitive development including pretend play, theory of mind, media effects on executive function, Montessori education



See lab website for most recent lis of publciations --

Lillard, A.S. (2017).  Montessori: The science behind the genius.  New York: Oxford University Press. Awarded major book award, sales over 35K. 3rd edition. Previous edition reviewed in:
o   Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 183-187.
o   Educational Psychology in Practice, 24, 159-60
o   PsycCritiques (on-line successor to Contemporary Psychology), 51 #24.
o   Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 770-774.

Lillard, A. S., & Taggart, J. (in press). Pretend play and fantasy: What if Montessori was right? Child Development Perspectives. Link to online access. 

Vasc, D., & Lillard, A. S. (in press). Pretend and Sociodramatic Play. In S. Hupp & J. Jewell (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. New York: Wiley.

Eisen, S., & LIllard, A. S. (2018). The Digital Dilemma: Why Limit Young Children's Use of Interactive Media? In C. Ferguson (Ed.), Children and Media. New York: Springer Verlag.

Taggart, J., Fukuda, E., & Lillard, A. S. (2018). Children's preference for real activities: Even stronger in the Montessori Children's House. Journal of Montessori Research.

Lillard, A. S. (2018). Rethinking education: Montessori's approach. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Lillard, A. S. (2017). Why do the children (pretend) play? Trends in Cognitive Science, 21, 826-834. doi:

Lillard, A. S., Heise, M. J. R., Eve M., Tong, X., Hart, A., & Bray, P. M. (2017). Montessori preschool elevates and equalizes child outcomes: A longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01783 Most viewed article of 2017 in the journal

Ma, L., & Lillard, A. S. (2017). The evolutionary significance of pretend play: Two-year-olds’ interpretation of behavioral cues. Learning and Behavior, 45, 441-448. doi: 10.3758/s13420-017-0285-y

Taggart, J., Eisen, S., & Lillard, A. S. (2018). Pretense. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Dore, R. A., Hoffman, K., Lillard, A. S., & Trawalter, S. (2017). Developing cognitions about race: White 5- to 10-year-olds’ perceptions of hardship and pain. European Journal of Social Psychology. On line first.

Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Lillard, A. S. (2017). Children adopt the traits of characters in a narrative. Child Development Research, Article ID 6838079, 16. doi: 10.1155/2017/6838079.

Eisen, S. L., & Lillard, A. S. (2017). Young children's thinking about touchscreens versus other media in the U.S. Journal of Children and Media, 11, 167-179. doi: 10.1080/17482798.2016.1254095

Lillard, A. S., & Eisen, S. (2017). Why Montessori is a facilitative environment for theory of mind: Three speculations. In V. Slaughter & M. de Rosnay (Eds.), Theory of mind development in context. Pp. 57-70. London: Routledge.

Taggart, J., Heise, M. J., & Lillard, A. S. (2017). The real thing: Preschoolers prefer actual activities to pretend ones. Developmental Science. On line first. 10.1111/desc.12582

Eisen, S. L., & Lillard, A. S. (2016). Just Google it: Young children’s preferences for touchscreen versus books in a hypothetical learning task. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Section, 7, 1431. doi:

Hopkins, E. J., Smith, E. D., Weisberg, D. K., & Lillard, A. S. (2016). The development of substitute object pretense: The differential importance of form and function. Journal of Cognition and Development, 17, 197-220.

Kang, E., Klein, E., Lillard, A. & Lerner, M. (2016). Predictors and moderators of spontaneous pretend play in children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1577. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01577

Lillard, A. S. (2016). Montessori education and creativity. AMI Communications, 225-229.

Lillard, A. S., & Heise, M. J. (2016). Removing supplementary materials from Montessori classrooms changed child outcomes. Journal of Montessori Research, 2, 17-27.

Dore, R. A., Jaswal, V. K., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). Real or not? Informativeness influences children's reality status judgments cognitive development. Cognitive Development, 33, 28-39.

Dore, R. A., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). Theory of mind and children's engagement in fantasy worlds. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 34, 230-242. doi: 10.1177/0276236614568631

Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). How is theory of mind useful? Perhaps to enable social pretend play. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01559 PMC4606048

Lerner, M. D., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). From false belief to friendship: Commentary on Fink, Begeer, Peterson, Slaughter, & de Rosnay. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 33, 18-20. Doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12070. PMID 25382634

Li, H., Boguszewski, K., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). Can that really happen? Children's knowledge about the reality status of fantastical events on television. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 139, 99-114. doi: PMID 26094241

Lillard, A. S., Drell, M., Richey, E., Bogusweski, K., & Smith, E. D. (2015). Further examination of the immediate impact of cartoons on children’s executive function. Developmental Psychology, 51, 792-805. doi: 10.1037/a0039097 PMID 25822897

Lillard, A.S. (2015).  The development of play.  Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, Vol. 3: Cognitive Development.  L. Liben and U. Mueller (Eds.), Lerner, R., Editor-in-Chief. Pp. 425-468. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lillard, A. S., Dore, R. A., Hopkins, E. J., & Smith, E. D. (2015). Challenges in the study of pretend play: What can we know, and how can we know it? In J. J. Johnson & S. G. Eberle (Eds.), Handbook of the Study of Play (pp. 441-48). Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Lillard, A. S., Li, H., & Boguszewski, K. (2015). Television and children's executive function. In J. B. Benson (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior (Vol. 48, pp. 219-249). New York: Elsevier. PMID 25735946

Lillard, A. S., & Woolley, (2015). Grounded in reality: How children make sense of the unreal. Cognitive Development. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2014.12.007.

Van Reet, J., Pinkham, A. M., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). The effect of realistic contexts on ontological judgments of novel entities. Cognitive Development. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2014.12.010 PMC4407999

Woolley, J. D., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). Cognizing the unreal. Cognitive Development. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2014.12.003.

Dore, R. A., & Lillard, A. S. (2014). Do children prefer mentalistic descriptions? Journal of Genetic Psychology 175, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/00221325.2013.805712 PMID 24796151

Dore, R. A., Hoffman, K., Lillard, A. S., & Trawalter, S. (2014). Do you feel what i feel? Children’s racial bias in perceptions of others’ pain. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 32, 218-231. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12038 PMID 24576067

Dore, R. A., Lillard, A. S., & Jaswal, V. K. (2014). Anthropologists in the crib. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15, 520-523. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2014.936789

Hopkins, E. J., Dore, R. A., & Lillard, A. S. (2014). Do children learn from pretense? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 130, 1-18. doi: PMID 25310690

Lillard, A. S., & Kavanaugh, R. D. (2014). The contribution of symbolic skills to the development of an explicit theory of mind. Child Development, 85, 1535–1551. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12227 PMID 24502297

Oishi, S., Jaswal, V. K., Lillard, A. S., Mizokawa, A., Hitokoto, H., & Tsutsui, Y. (2014). Cultural variations in global versus local processing: A developmental perspective. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2654-2665. doi: 10.1037/a0038272 PMID 25365123



  • 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