Adam Morris

Cognitive scientist at Harvard University

I study the algorithms people use to make decisions.

Every day, people make hundreds of decisions - what to wear, which route to take, where to eat lunch, how to phrase an email. We make most of these with ease and success. Yet, when cognitive scientists try to figure out the algorithms that people are using, they run into all sorts of problems. Out of all the endless possibilities, how do people know which options to consider? Which goals to set? Which outcomes to value? How do they balance the demands of evolution (e.g. the pursuit of innate rewards) with the demands of society (e.g. the desire to follow norms)? I address these questions using experiments and computational models.


I'm a 3rd-year PhD student at Harvard. I grew up in New Jersey, and did my undergrad at Brown University. I'm passionate about teaching undergraduates and effectively communicating the ideas of our field. (Check out my tutorials on reinforcement learning and Bayesian modeling; a podcast I was on; or a talk on my work!) I also care a lot about understanding the philosophical underpinnings of cognitive science, and applying them to my work.

Outside of academia, I compose music, write non-fiction essays, play chess, dance contra, and occasionally hitchhike in Argentina (pictured →).

Contact me at adam dot mtc dot morris at, or check out my Google Scholar or Github pages.