The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Candice M. Mills


Research Interests

Cognitive development; social cognition; critical thinking; explanation and understanding; selective trust, science learning

Curriculum Vitae


Email: [email protected]
Phone: 972-883-4475
Office: JO_4.208
Campus Mail Code: GR 41
Website: Think Lab


Dr. Candice Mills conducts research examining how children learn from others. In one line of research, she examines how children evaluate explanations, particularly in the domain of science. She studies the factors that help children recognize weaknesses in explanation quality as well as in what circumstances children respond to weak explanations by attempting to “fill the gaps” in their knowledge. In other research, she examines how children learn to take a critical stance when learning from others, understanding that some sources may be more accurate and/or helpful than others. A new line of work in her lab examines how children think about fantastical beings like Santa Claus. Throughout her research, Dr. Mills aims to characterize developmental changes in how children learn from others, using the results to develop ideas for how to best encourage thinking and learning abilities. Dr. Mills has received grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Timberlawn Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. In addition, in 2011, she was awarded the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas System. Dr. Mills earned her bachelor’s degree in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Florida and her PhD in developmental psychology from Yale University.

Recent and Selected Representative Publications

Recent Articles in Peer-Refereed Journals

Mills, C. M., Danovitch, J. H., Mugambi, V. N., Sands, K. R., & Pattisapu Fox, C. (in press). “Why do dogs pant?”: Characteristics of parental explanations about science predict children’s knowledge. Child Development.

Mills, C. M., Sands, K. R., Rowles, S. P.*, & Campbell, I. L. (2019). “I want to know more!”: Children are sensitive to explanation quality when exploring new information. Cognitive Science, 43, 1-28. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12706.

Mills, C. M., Danovitch, J. H., Rowles, S. P., & Campbell, I. L. (2017). Children’s success at detecting circular explanations and their interest in future learning. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 24, 1465-1477. doi: 10.3758/s13423-016-1195-2.

Landrum, A. R., Pflaum, A., & Mills, C. M. (2016). Inducing knowledgeability from niceness: Children use social features for making epistemic inferences. Journal of Cognition and Development, 5, 699-717. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2015.1135799.

Mills, C. M. (2013). Knowing when to doubt: Developing a critical stance when learning from others. Developmental Psychology, 49(3), 404-418. doi:10.1037/a0029500.

View more of Candice Mills’ publications