Falk Lieder


Falk Lieder

Assistant Professor
Ph.D.: University of California, Berkeley
Primary Area: Cognitive Psychology
Address: 7538 Pritzker Hall
Email: falk.lieder@psych.ucla.edu
Lab Website: https://ralab.psych.ucla.edu

Research and Teaching Interests:

My mission is to produce fundamental insights into crucial aspects of rationality, altruism, and morality that altruists can use to improve society and the future of humanity. This includes research on understanding and improving goal-setting and decision-making, motivation, values, moral reasoning, wisdom, learning from experience, and rationality. My lab’s multidisciplinary approaches include computational and mathematical modeling, online and field experiments, machine learning, questionnaires, and experience sampling. We translate the insights of our basic research into (intelligent) digital tools for improving decision-making and fostering the effective pursuit of altruistic goals, and evaluate the resulting interventions in randomized controlled trials.  I am currently looking for 1-2 graduate students, postdocs, a web developer, and research assistants to join my lab in Fall 2024 or later. Potential projects include investigating how people can learn to make important decisions more wisely and developing interventions for motivating people to set goals with a high positive social impact and helping them pursue those goals effectively. Please visit our get involved page if you are interested in joining the lab at some point.


Dr. Lieder’s fascination with psychological science started early. He was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to publish his first scientific article while he was still in high school. To prepare himself for rigorous, quantitative psychological research, he completed two simultaneous bachelor’s degrees in Cognitive Science and in Mathematics/Computer Science at the University of Osnabrück (Germany). Dr. Lieder then obtained his master’s degree in Neural Systems and Computation at ETH Zurich (Switzerland). After working as a research assistant in Klaas Stephan’s Translational Neuromodeling Unit at the University of Zurich, he completed his Ph.D. in Tom Griffiths’s Computational Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley in May 2018. His dissertation was awarded the Glushko Dissertation Prize in Cognitive Science. He then became a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the MPI for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, where he led the Rationality Enhancement Group until June 2023. He moved to the psychology department of UCLA in July 2023. Dr. Lieder has published 50 peer-reviewed articles that have collectively been cited more than 4500 times. He was the lead organizer of the inaugural Life Improvement Science conference. His most influential contribution to cognitive science thus far has been the development of a new cognitive modeling paradigm known as resource-rational analysis (Lieder & Griffiths, 2020). 

Curriculum Vitae

Representative Publications:

  1. Callaway, F., Jain, Y. R., van Opheusden, B., Krueger, P. M., Das, P., Iwama, G., Gul, S., Becker, F., Griffiths, T. L., & Lieder, F. (2022). Leveraging artificial intelligence to improve people’s planning strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(12), e2117432119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2117432119
  2. Lieder, F., Prentice, M., & Corwin-Renner, E. R. (in press). An interdisciplinary synthesis of research on understanding and promoting well-doing. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. doi:10.1111/spc3.12704
  3. Lieder, F., & Griffiths, T. L. (2020). Resource-rational analysis: Understanding human cognition as the optimal use of limited computational resources. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 43, e1. doi:10.1017/S0140525X1900061X.
  4. Consul, S., Heindrich, L., Stojcheski, J., & Lieder, F. (2022). Improving human decision making by discovering efficient strategies for hierarchical planning. Computational Brain & Behavior, 5(2), 185-216. doi:10.1007/s42113-022-00128-3
  5. Lieder, F., Chen, O., Krueger, P. M., & Griffiths, T.L. (2019). Cognitive prostheses for goal achievement. Nature Human Behavior, 3, 1096–1106. doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0672-9