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 was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Emory since 1994. He was also a visiting fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Dr. Lilienfeld was a Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory. He was Editor-in-Chief of the APS journal Clinical Psychological Science and Associate Editor of the APA journal Archives of Scientific Psychology; he also sat on the editorial boards of several journals, including American Psychologist. He was a 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 was a Fellow of, and Executive Board Member of, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Consulting Editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Heterodox Academy.