What is your background?
Cognitive science, psychology, mathematics, machine learning, and computational neuroscience
What is your research area?
My mission is to lay the scientific foundations for motivating and enabling people to embark on highly impactful altruistic projects and pursue them effectively. This includes research on understanding and improving goal-setting and decision-making, motivation, goal-pursuit, 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 field experiments.
What are you planning to focus on in the future?
I am committed to identifying and focusing on the psychological questions that are most crucial for the long-term flourishing of humanity. To identify those questions, my collaborators and I are extending cause prioritization research to the behavioral sciences (new collaborators welcome). The first step is to develop a general method for estimating the expected value of the cost-effectiveness of research on a given topic in units of subjective well-being per dollar. The second step is applying this method to prioritize and choose from behavioral science questions crucial for Effective Altruism.
In parallel to this meta-science project, my psychological research will focus on:
1. Developing interventions for directing more people towards choosing and effectively pursuing highly impactful altruistic goals.
2. Investigating how people can learn to think, feel, and decide according to the virtues of EA.
3. Developing scalable digital interventions that foster this type of character development.
Moreover, I am highly interested in the causes, psychological mechanisms, and consequences of the effective pursuit of impactful altruistic goals and psychological obstacles to effective altruism and how they can be overcome.
Do you want help or collaborators, if so who?
For any of the projects and topics outlined above, I would be thrilled to have more academic and applied EA collaborators at any stage of their career. My research is highly interdisciplinary and spans the full range from foundational basic research to practical applications. So, it doesn't matter if your background is in psychology, economics, cognitive science, computer science, mathematics, statistics, ML/AI, education, HCI, or a related discipline.
I am also looking for graduate students, postdocs, a lab manager, a web developer, and research assistants to join the new Rational Altruism Lab I will start at UCLA in Fall 2023. Potential projects include investigating how people can learn to make crucial 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. If you are interested in joining the lab at some point, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Do you want to share some of your work?
1. Lieder, F., Prentice, M., & Corwin-Renner, E. R. (2022). An interdisciplinary synthesis of research on understanding and promoting well-doing. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, e12704. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12704
2. 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. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2...
3. Doing research on promoting prosocial behavior might be 100 times as cost-effective at increasing well-being as providing psychotherapy
[You can contact Falk at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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