Scott O. Lilienfeld

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology

Office: 473 Psychology Building

Phone: 404-727-1125

Fax: 404-727-0372


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Psychology

36 Eagle Row
Emory University

Atlanta, GA 30322


Dr. Lilienfeld was born and raised in New York City. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Psychology (Clinical) from the University of Minnesota in 1990. He completed his clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1986-1987. He was assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany from 1990 to 1994, and has been a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Emory since 1994. He is also a visiting fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Dr. Lilienfeld is presently Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory. He is Editor-in-Chief of the APS journal Clinical Psychological Science and Associate Editor of the APA journal Archives of Scientific Psychology; he also sits on the editorial boards of several journals, including American Psychologist. He is recent past president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (Section 3 of APA Division 12) and the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. He is a Fellow of, and Executive Board Member of, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Consulting Editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Heterodox Academy:

Prospective Graduate Students

I conduct research on personality and personality disorders (especially psychopathic and narcissistic personality disorders), and I am becoming especially interested in the intersection between cognitive biases and both normal and abnormal personality traits. I am also extremely interested in dispositional traits relevant to intellectual/epistemic humility and scientific thinking, as well as individual difference variables that predispose to human irrationality.

Please note that (despite my interests in psychopathic personality) I do not accept graduate students whose principal interests lie in criminal justice, criminology, or psychology-law given that the focus on our lab is on basic personality/psychopathology research rather than on applied criminal justice or forensic work. Nevertheless, students with secondary interests in these applied areas are certainly more than welcome to apply.

Given the large number of inquiries I receive each year from prospective graduate students, I apologize in advance that I am unable to set up individual meetings or phone calls with each of you. But please don’t hesitate to pop me an email ( if you have specific questions regarding our lab or our ongoing research directions.

Web Pages

Google Scholar Page

Psyc.Tv: Online Continuing Education


  • PSYC 111: Introduction to Psychology II
  • PSYC-385: The Psychology of Scientific and Unscientific Thinking
  • PSYC 410: Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology

Dr. Lilienfeld does not presently know whether he will be seeking a new graduate student for Fall 2019 admission, but should know by early September. Please visit the Clinical Program page for a list of faculty who will be interviewing applicants for Fall 2019 admission.


Cognitive biases (e.g., confirmation bias) and their relations to personality and psychopathology; scientific thinking and its application to psychology; the causes and assessment of personality disorders (especially psychopathic and narcissistic personality disorders); psychiatric classification and diagnosis; pseudoscience and clinical psychology; evidence-based clinical practice; philosophy of science and psychology.

Current Research Projects
  • Cognitive biases and personality/personality disorder traits
  • The assessment and behavioral implications of intellectual humility
  • The efficacy of debiasing techniques
  • Correlates of left- and right-wing authoritarianism; causes of ideological extremism
  • The interpersonal implications of psychopathic personality traits
  • The detection and correlates of successful psychopathy
  • Psychopathy and empathy
  • Popular psychology myths and misconceptions
  • Relation between federal grant funding and scholarly productivity/quality
Lab Members
  • Shauna Bowes (2nd year graduate student, clinical psychology program).
    Research Interests: I am interested in examining the associations among personality traits (both normal and abnormal), intellectual humility, and cognitive biases and bias blind spot. By investigating these relations, I hope to clarify the nomological networks of these variables and elucidate potential debiasing interventions that can improve decision-making processes.
  • Thomas Costello (3rd year graduate student, clinical psychology program).
    Research interests: My research interests include the conceptualization and measurement of authoritarianism and political extremism on both ends of the ideological spectrum; pathological personality; the relations between personality traits and cognitive styles, on the one hand, and authoritarian traits, political ideology, and worldview, on the other; the construction and validation of self-report measures; and the implications of viewpoint diversity in the sciences. 
  • Brett Murphy (5th year graduate student, clinical psychology program).
    Research Interests: Brett Murphy's research interests are broadly related to interpersonal functioning. In particular, his research focuses on the varieties of empathic experience and power/dominance dynamics, as well as on the linkages between psychopathy and both cognitive and affective empathy.
  • Ashley Watts (Ph.D.., 2018, Currently postdoc, University of Missouri-Columbia) 
  • Sarah Francis Smith (Ph.D., 2017, Now at VA Medical Center, Atlanta)
  • Maddy Blanchard, Honors Student (2018-2019). 
    Honors project: Intellectual humility and political polarization


Selected Publications


Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., & Namy, L (2018).  Psychology: From inquiry to understanding (4th edition).  Boston, MA: Pearson.

Lilienfeld, S.O., & Waldman, I.D. (2017). Psychological science under scrutiny: Recent challenges and proposed solutions. New York: Wiley.

Arkowitz, H., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2017). Facts and fictions in mental health. New York: Wiley.

Heinzen, T., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Nolan, S. (2015). The horse that won’t go away: Clever Hans, clever hands, and critical thinking in psychology. New York: Worth.

Satel. S., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2013). Brainwashed: The seductive appeal of mindless neuroscience. New York: Basic Books.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., & Lohr, J.M. (2013).  Science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology (2nd edition).  New York: Guilford.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B.J. (2010).  50 great myths of popular psychology: Shattering widespread misconceptions about human behavior.  New York: Wiley-Blackwell

Skeem, J.L., Douglas, K.S., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2009).   Psychological science in the courtroom: Consensus and controversy.  New York: Guilford.

Lilienfeld, S.O., & O’Donohue, W.T. (Eds.) (2007).  The Great Ideas of Clinical Science:  17 principles that all mental health professionals should understand. New York: Routledge.

O’Donohue, W.T., Fowler, K.A. & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2007). Personality disorders: Toward the DSM-5. New York: Sage. 

Lilienfeld, S.O., & Widows, M. (2005).  Professional Manual for the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R).  Lutz, Florida: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Wood, J.M., Nezworski, M.T., Lilienfeld, S.O., & Garb, H.N. (2003). What’s wrong with the Rorschach? Science confronts the controversial inkblot test. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Lilienfeld, S.O. (1995). Seeing both sides: Classic controversies in abnormal psychology. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Selected Articles*

*Bolded names refer to past or current graduate students

Watts, A. L., Rohr, J. C., McCauley, K. L., Smith, S. F., Howe, K. L., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (in press). Do psychopathic birds of a feather flock together? Psychopathic personality traits and romantic preferences. Journal of Personality.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2018). The multidimensional nature of psychopathy: Five recommendations for research. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment40, 79-85.

Lilienfeld, S. O., McKay, D., & Hollon, S. D. (2018). Why randomized controlled trials of psychological treatments are still essential. The Lancet Psychiatry. 5, 536-538.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Miller, J. D., & Lynam, D. R. (2018). The Goldwater Rule: Perspectives from, and implications for, psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13, 3-27.

Verschuere, B., van Ghesel Grothe, S., Waldorp, L., Watts, A. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Edens, J. F., ... & Noordhof, A. (2018). What features of psychopathy might be central? A network analysis of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) in three large samples. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127, 51-65.

Marshall, J., Watts, A. L., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2018). Do psychopathic individuals possess a misaligned moral compass? A meta-analytic examination of psychopathy’s relations with moral judgment. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9, 40-50.

Bowes, S. M., Watts, A. L., Costello, T. H., Murphy, B. A., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2018). Psychopathy and entertainment preferences: Clarifying the role of abnormal and normal personality in music and movie interests. Personality and Individual Differences129, 33-37.

Costello, T. H., Unterberger, A., Watts, A. L., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2018). Psychopathy and Pride: Testing Lykken’s Hypothesis Regarding the Implications of Fearlessness for Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 185.

Murphy, B. A., Costello, T. H., Watts, A. L., Cheong, Y. F., Berg, J. M., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (in press). Strengths and weaknesses of two empathy measures: A comparison of the measurement precision, construct validity, and incremental validity of two multidimensional indices. Assessment.

Tackett, J. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Patrick, C. J., Johnson, S. L., Krueger, R. F., Miller, J. D., ... & Shrout, P. E. (2017). It’s time to broaden the replicability conversation: Thoughts for and from clinical psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science12, 742-756.

Watts, A. L., Waldman, I. D., Smith, S. F., Poore, H. E., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). The nature and correlates of the dark triad: The answers depend on the questions. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126, 951-968.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Microaggressions: Strong claims, inadequate evidence. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 138-169.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Psychology’s replication crisis and the grant culture: Righting the ship. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 660-664.

Bensley, D. A., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Psychological misconceptions: Recent scientific advances and unresolved issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 377-382.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2017). Clinical psychological science: Then and now. Clinical Psychological Science, 9, 3-13.

Schwartz, S. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., Meca, A., & Sauvigné, K. C. (2016). The role of neuroscience within psychology: A call for inclusiveness over exclusiveness. American Psychologist, 71, 52-70.

Lilienfeld, S. O., & Treadway, M. T. (2016). Clashing diagnostic approaches: DSM-ICD versus RDoC. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 435-463.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Smith, S. F., & Watts, A. L. (2016). The perils of unitary models of the etiology of mental disorders—The response modulation hypothesis of psychopathy as a case example: Rejoinder to Newman and Baskin-Sommers (2016). Psychological Bulletin, 142, 1394-1403.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Smith, S. F., Sauvigné, K. C., Patrick, C. J., Drislane, L. E., Latzman, R. D., & Krueger, R. F. (2016). Is boldness relevant to psychopathic personality? Meta-analytic relations with non-psychopathy Checklist-based measures of psychopathy. Psychological Assessment, 28, 1172-1185.

Watts, A. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Edens, J. F., Douglas, K. S., Skeem, J. L., Verschuere, B., & LoPilato, A. C. (2016). Does response distortion statistically affect the relations between self-report psychopathy measures and external criteria? Psychological Assessment, 28, 294-306.

Smith, S. F., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2015). The response modulation hypothesis of psychopathy: A meta-analytic and narrative analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 1145-1177.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Watts, A. L., Francis, S.F., Berg, J. M., & Latzman, R. D. (2015). Psychopathy deconstructed and reconstructed: Identifying and assembling the personality building blocks of Cleckley's chimera. Journal of Personality, 83, 593-610.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Watts, A. L., & Smith, S. F. (2015). Successful psychopathy: A scientific status report. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 298-303.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Sauvigné, K. C., Lynn, S. J., Cautin, R. L., Latzman, R. D., & Waldman, I. D. (2015). Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1100. 

Lynn, S. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., Merckelbach, H., Giesbrecht, T., McNally, R. J., Loftus, E. F., . . . Malaktaris, A. (2014). The trauma model of dissociation: Inconvenient truths and stubborn fictions. Comment on Dalenberg et al. (2012). Psychological Bulletin, 140, 896-910. 

Patihis, L., Ho, L. Y., Tingen, I. W., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Loftus, E. F. (2014). Are the “memory wars” over? A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. Psychological Science, 25, 519-530. 

Lilienfeld, S. O., Ritschel, L. A., Lynn, S. J., Cautin, R. L., & Latzman, R. D. (2014). Why ineffective psychotherapies appear to work: A taxonomy of causes of spurious therapeutic effectiveness. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 355-387. 

Lilienfeld, S. O., Ritschel, L. A., Lynn, S. J., Cautin, R. L., & Latzman, R. D. (2013). Why many clinical psychologists are resistant to evidence-based practice: Root causes and constructive remedies. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 883-900.

Watts, A. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Smith, S. F., Miller, J. D., Campbell, W. K., Waldman, I. D., ... & Faschingbauer, T. J. (2013). The double-edged sword of grandiose narcissism: Implications for successful and unsuccessful leadership among US presidents. Psychological Science, 24(12), 2379-2389.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Waldman, I.D., Landfield, K., Faschingbauer, T.R., & Rubenzer, S. (2012). Fearless dominance and the U.S. presidency: Implications of psychopathic personality traits for leadership and job performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 489-505.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Patrick, C. J., Benning, S. D., Berg, J., Sellbom, M., & Edens, J. F. (2012). The role of fearless dominance in psychopathy: Confusions, controversies, and clarifications. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 3, 327-340.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2012). Public skepticism of psychology: Why many people perceive the study of human behavior as unscientific. American Psychologist, 67, 111-119.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Ammirati, R., & David, M. (2012). Distinguishing science from pseudoscience in school psychology: Science and scientific thinking as safeguards against human error. Journal of School Psychology50, 7-36.

Skeem, J. L., Polaschek, D. L., Patrick, C. J., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2011). Psychopathic personality: Bridging the gap between scientific evidence and public policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 12, 95-162.

Sylvers, P. D., Brennan, P. A., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2011). Psychopathic traits and preattentive threat processing in children: a novel test of the fearlessness hypothesis. Psychological Science, 22, 1280-1287.

Lilienfeld, S.O. (2010).  Can psychology become a science?  Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 281-288.

Poythress, N. G., Edens, J. F., Skeem, J. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Douglas, K. S., Frick, P. J., ... & Wang, T. (2010). Identifying subtypes among offenders with antisocial personality disorder: A cluster-analytic study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119, 389-400.

Rosen, G. M., Lilienfeld, S. O., Frueh, B. C., McHugh, P. R., & Spitzer, R. L. (2010). Reflections on PTSD's future in DSM–V. British Journal of Psychiatry, 197, 343-344.

Fowler, K.A., Lilienfeld, S.O., & Patrick, C.P. (2009).  Detecting psychopathy from thin slices of behavior.  Psychological Assessment, 21, 68-78.  

Lilienfeld, S.O., Ammirati, R., & Landfield, K. (2009).  Giving debiasing away:  Can psychological research on correcting cognitive errors promote human welfare? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 390-398.

Rosen, G.R., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2008).  Posttraumatic stress disorder: An empirical analysis of core assumptions.  Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 837-868.

Giesbrecht, T., Lynn, S.J., Lilienfeld, S.O., & Merckelbach, H. (2008).  Cognitive processes in dissociation: An analysis of core theoretical assumptions. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 617-647.

Lilienfeld, S.O. (2007). Psychological treatments that cause harm.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 53-70.

Edens, J. F., Marcus, D. K., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Poythress, N. G.  (2006).  Psychopathic, not psychopath:  Taxometric evidence for the dimensional structure of psychopathy.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 131-144.

Lilienfeld, S.O. (2005).  Scientifically supported and unsupported interventions for childhood psychopathology: A summary.  Pediatrics, 115, 761-764.

Garb, H.N., Wood, J.M.., Lilienfeld, S.O., & Nezworski, M.T. (2005). Roots of the Rorschach controversy. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 97-118.

Wood, J.M., Garb, H.N., Lilienfeld, S.O., & Nezworski, M.T. (2002). Clinical assessment of personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 519-543.
Lilienfeld, S.O. (2002). When worlds collide: Social science, politics, and the Rind et al. child sexual abuse meta-analysis. American Psychologist, 57, 176-188.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Wood, J.M., & Garb, H.N. (2001, May). What’s wrong with this picture? Scientific American, 284, 80-87.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Wood, J.M., & Garb. H.N. (2000). The scientific status of projective techniques. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 1, 27-66.

Morgan, A. B., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2000). A meta-analytic review of the relation between antisocial behavior and neuropsychological measures of executive function. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 113-136.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., Kirsch, I., Chaves, J., Sarbin, T., Ganaway, G., & Powell, R. (1999). Dissociative identity disorder and the sociocognitive model: Recalling the lessons of the past. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 507-523.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Gershon, J., Duke, M., Marino, L., & de Waal, F.B.M. (1999). A
preliminary investigation of the construct of psychopathic personality (psychopathy) in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 113, 365-375.

Lilienfeld, S. O., & Marino, L. (1999). Essentialism revisited: Evolutionary theory and the concept of mental disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 99-104.

Lilienfeld, S.O., & Loftus, E.F. (1998). Repressed memories and World War II: Some cautionary notes. Professional Psychology, 29, 471-475.

Harkness, A.R., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (1997). Individual differences science for treatment planning: Personality traits. Psychological Assessment, 9, 349-360.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (1997). The relation of anxiety sensitivity to higher and lower order personality dimensions: Implications for the etiology of panic attacks. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 539-544.

Lilienfeld, S.O., & Andrews, B.P. (1996). Development and preliminary validation of a self-report measure of psychopathic personality traits in noncriminal populations. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 488-524.

Lilienfeld, S.O., & Marino, L. (1995). Mental disorder as a Roschian concept: A critique of Wakefield's 'harmful dysfunction' analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 411-420.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (1994). Conceptual problems in the assessment of psychopathy. Clinical Psychology Review14, 17-38.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Waldman, I. D., & Israel, A. C. (1994). A critical examination of the use of the term and concept of comorbidity in psychopathology research. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1, 71-83.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Van Valkenburg, C., Larntz, K., & Akiskal, H. S. (1986). The relationship of histrionic personality disorder to antisocial personality and somatization disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 718-722.