Leveraging artificial intelligence to improve people’s planning strategies

Frederick Callaway, Yash Raj Jain, Bas van Opheusden, Priyam Das, Gabriela Iwama, Sayan Gul, Paul M. Krueger, Frederic Becker, Thomas L. Griffiths, Falk Lieder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Human decision making is plagued by systematic errors that can have devastating consequences. Previous research has found that such errors can be partly prevented by teaching people decision strategies that would allow them to make better choices in specific situations. Three bottlenecks of this approach are our limited knowledge of effective decision strategies, the limited transfer of learning beyond the trained task, and the challenge of efficiently teaching good decision strategies to a large number of people. We introduce a general approach to solving these problems that leverages artificial intelligence to discover and teach optimal decision strategies. As a proof of concept, we developed an intelligent tutor that teaches people the automatically discovered optimal heuristic for environments where immediate rewards do not predict long-term outcomes. We found that practice with our intelligent tutor was more effective than conventional approaches to improving human decision making. The benefits of training with our cognitive tutor transferred to a more challenging task and were retained over time. Our general approach to improving human decision making by developing intelligent tutors also proved successful for another environment with a very different reward structure. These findings suggest that leveraging artificial intelligence to discover and teach optimal cognitive strategies is a promising approach to improving human judgment and decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2117432119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 22 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Bounded rationality
  • Cognitive training
  • Heuristics
  • Rationality enhancement


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