Lael J. Schooler, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology


  • Ph.D, Carnegie Mellon (1993)
  • M.S., Carnegie Mellon (1989)
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, CT (1986)
  • Senior Research Scientist, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin


 Dr. Schooler investigates simple heuristics -- decision strategies that use limited information to make effective decisions in an uncertain world.  Much of his work is informed by the ACT-R theory of cognition that supports the development of computer simulations that make predictions about human behavior and the neural correlates of that behavior.  He uses computer simulations and behavioral experiments to help explain how people make decisions and how they could make better ones. For more information, see:

Selected Publications

Luan, S., Schooler, L. J., & Gigerenzer, G. (2014). From Perception to Preference and on to Inference: An Approach-Avoidance Analysis of Thresholds. Psychological Review.  121, 501-525. doi:10.1037/a0037025

Morais, A. S., Olsson, H., & Schooler, L. J. (2013). Mapping the structure of semantic memory. Cognitive Science. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12013

Marewski, J. N., & Schooler, L. J. (2011).  Cognitive Niches:  An Ecological Model of Strategy Selection.  Psychological Review, 118, 393-437.

Luan, S., Schooler, L. J., & Gigerenzer, G. (2011). A signal-detection analysis of fast-and-frugal trees. Psychological Review, 118, 3, 316-338.

Katsikopoulos, K. V., Schooler, L. J., & Hertwig, R. (2010). The Robust Beauty of Ordinary Information. Psychological Review, 117, 1259-1266.

Gaissmaier, W., & Schooler, L. J. (2008). The smart potential behind probability matching. Cognition, 109, 416-4221.

Mata, R., Schooler, L.J., & Rieskamp, J. (2007). The Aging Decision Maker: Cognitive Aging and the Adaptive Selection of Decision Strategies. Psychology and Aging, 22, 796-810.

Schooler, L. J., & Hertwig, R. (2005). How forgetting aids heuristic inference. Psychological Review, 112, 610–628.

Schooler, L. J., Shiffrin, R. M., & Raaijmakers, J. G. W. (2001). A Bayesian model for implicit effects in perceptual identification. Psychological Review, 108, 257-272.