Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins headshot
Assistant Professor, Discovery Fellow
330 North Orchard Street, Room 2174
Madison WI 53715
Preferred pronouns: he/him/his
Joined WID: 2023

Computational principles of cognition enabling human communication and coordination


Robert Hawkins is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the Department of Psychology and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, where he directs the Social Interaction Lab. The lab focuses on the core cognitive mechanisms allowing humans to adaptively communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with one another in social networks. His interdisciplinary approach integrates large-scale interactive behavioral experiments with computational models of communication and social reasoning. He received his BS from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2014, majoring in Mathematics and Cognitive Science with a minor in Computer Science. He completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at Stanford University in 2019 and continued as a CV Starr Fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute before joining the faculty at UW–Madison in 2023.


  • BS, Mathematics and Cognitive Science, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • PhD, Psychology, Stanford University


  • CV Starr Fellowship, 2021-2023
  • NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2019-2021
  • Best Paper Award, EMNLP, 2022
  • Outstanding Paper Award, NeurIPS, 2022
  • Best Paper Award, NeurIPS Workshop on Language and Reinforcement Learning, 2022
  • Cognitive Science Society Prize for Computational Modeling in Language, 2020
  • Best Paper Award, ICML Workshop on Adaptive and Multi-Task Learning, 2019
  • Cognitive Science Society Prize for Computational Modeling in Applied Cognition, 2015
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014-2017