Saadi Lahlou is chair in social psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), and director of the Paris Institute for Advanced Study (France). He is co-leading the project Socioscope Alpha: A Proof of Concept for Research on Societal Change.
Lahlou has a multidisciplinary background spanning economics, statistics and human biology; he received his PhD psychology from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS; Paris, France) and habilitation in psychology from the University of Provence, France. Prior to joining the Paris Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), he has directed four research units—the Consumer Research Department at Crédoc – Centre for the Study of Lifestyles and Social Policies, in Paris, France; the Social Forecast Unit and the Laboratory of Design for Cognition, both at EDF R&D; and the Department of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)—and was on the steering committee of the Commissariat Général du Plan (General Planning Commission) in France. Since 2009 he has been chair in social psychology at LSE. He became the director of the Paris IAS in 2018.
Lahlou’s early research mainly focused on consumer behavior, especially on eating, and social representation theory. He set up large statistical observation instruments looking at food habits at the national level and contributed to the development of automated text analysis and to the application of multivariate analysis methods to behavioral and cultural studies. He conducted organizational studies, developed original first-person perspective video observation techniques and participative design approaches. He has been involved in projects concerning sustainability issues, in particular energy use. Lahlou’s current research and teaching focuses on social change, through the study of the distribution of determinants of human behavior among physical space, mental space, and social space, with attention to online interactions.