Dan Ariely

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Dan Ariely
Dan Ariely January 2019.jpg
Dan Ariely in 2019 at Tel Aviv University's Alumni Organization
Born (1967-04-29) April 29, 1967 (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality Israeli, American
EducationCognitive Psychology (PhD)
Business Administration (PhD)
Alma mater Duke University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tel Aviv University
Known forBehavioral Economics
Scientific career
Institutions Duke University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisor James Bettman
John G. Lynch Jr.
Website danariely.com

Dan Ariely (Hebrew : דן אריאלי; born April 29, 1967) is an Israeli-American professor and author. He serves as a James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. Ariely is the founder of the research institution The Center for Advanced Hindsight, [1] as well as the co-founder of several companies implementing insights from behavioral science. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Ariely's TED talks have been viewed over 15 million times. [7] [8] [9] [10] Ariely is the author of the three New York Times best sellers Predictably Irrational , The Upside of Irrationality , and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty , [11] as well as the books Dollars and Sense, Irrationally Yours – a collection of his The Wall Street Journal advice column “Ask Ariely”; [12] and Payoff, a short TED book. [13] Ariely appeared in several documentary films, including The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and produced and participated in (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies . [14]


In 2021, the blog Data Colada published evidence that the data used by Ariely in a 2012 PNAS paper was fraudulent. [15] [16] [17] Ariely's paper was retracted. [18] [19]

Early life and family

Dan Ariely was born in New York City while his father was studying for an MBA degree at Columbia University. The family emigrated to Israel when he was three. He grew up in Ramat Hasharon. [11] In his senior year of high school, he was active in Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, an Israeli youth movement. While he was preparing a ktovet esh (fire inscription) for a traditional nighttime ceremony, the flammable materials he was mixing exploded, causing third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body. [11] In his writings, Ariely describes how that experience led to his research on "how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients." [20] [21]

Dan married Sumedha (Sumi) Gupta Ariely in 1998. [22] They have two children and are now divorced.[ citation needed ]

Education and academic career

Ariely was a physics and mathematics major at Tel Aviv University but transferred to philosophy and psychology. However, in his last year he dropped philosophy and concentrated solely on psychology. In 1996 he earned a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed a second PhD in Marketing at Duke University in 1998, at the urging of Nobel economic sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman. [11] [23]

Ariely taught at MIT between 1998 and 2008, where he was formerly the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT Sloan School of Management and at the MIT Media Lab.

In 2008, Ariely returned to Duke University as James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics. Ariely's laboratory at Duke University, the Center for Advanced Hindsight, pursues research in subjects like the psychology of money, decision making by physicians and patients, cheating, and social justice. [11]

Accusations of data fraud and academic misconduct

There have been accusations of academic dishonesty and data fraud in Ariely's career.

In 2010, Ariely told NPR in an interview that data from Delta Dental, an insurance provider, showed that dentists frequently (with a probability of "about 50 percent") misdiagnosed cavities when analyzing X-rays, and speculated that this might happen so that dentists could charge more money. [24] A Delta Dental spokesperson later stated that they do not collect data that could support such a conclusion. [25] [26]

In July 2021, the journal Psychological Science issued an Expression of Concern regarding a 2004 paper co-authored by Ariely, "prompted by some uncertainty regarding the values of statistical tests reported in the article and the analytic approach taken to the data". [27] According to the journal, Ariely was not able to locate the original data to resolve the ambiguities.

In August 2021, a widely-cited 2012 paper about honesty [18] co-authored by Ariely was reanalyzed by the blog Data Colada. The blog concluded that study data provided by a car-insurance company was likely manipulated. [15] [16] The paper was retracted. [16] Ariely denies accusations of fraud. [28] BuzzFeed News reported that Ariely gave "vague and conflicting answers about how he obtained the data" and that he "appeared to blame the insurance company for the fraudulent data" though he "did not have any emails from that time to review". [16]

Later in August 2021, the online news journal Hamakom reported that while Ariely was at MIT and ran an experiment regarding the value of placebos ("Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy"), he used electric shocks on volunteers without asking or receiving an Institutional review board approval for such an experiment. This was discovered after one of the participants complained, and an approval was granted only after the experiment was concluded. The ethics committee decided to forbid Ariely to run experiments for a year, after which he moved to Duke University. [29] Ariely confirmed that he was suspended and said it was a misunderstanding between him and the IRB. [30] [28]

Business activities

In 2010, Ariely co-founded BEworks, a management consulting firm dedicated to applying behavioral science to business and policy challenges. BEworks was acquired by kyu Collective in January 2017. [31] In 2012, he co-founded, with Yuval Shoham and Jacob Bank, Timeful, [4] a technology company aiming to help people manage their time. Timeful was acquired by Google in 2015. [32] In 2013, he co-founded, with Doron Marco and Ayelet Carasso, Genie, [5] a kitchen appliance designed to cook personalized healthy dishes in about a minute.

In 2015, Ariely was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital. Ariely, who has also invested in the company, [33] uses his access to the app's platform and database to assist him in independent research on consumer saving and spending behavior. In turn, Qapital can access Ariely's research to test technologies and ideas for use in the app. In 2016, Ariely was named Chief Behavioral Officer for Lemonade, an insurance company, to integrate aspects of behavioral economics into Lemonade's insurance model and help them align incentives between the insurer and insured. [34]

In 2017, he co-founded, with Nati Lavi, Shapa, a health monitoring and encouraging company. [6] In 2018, he co-founded the company Kayma, which uses behavioral economics and original research methods. The company works on projects for the Israeli government's Ministry of Finance. [35]


Ariely is the author of the books Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, [36] The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves .

He explains the impetus for his first book:

I have a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, and I have a Ph.D. in business administration. But what I do lies between psychology and economics. I ask questions that economists would ask, but instead of assuming straightaway that people behave rationally, I just observe how people behave. In "Predictably Irrational", I talk about how people think, mostly about financial decisions. The things that we buy. One chapter asks the question, "How do we decide how much something is worth?" Economic theory has a very simple assumption about this. But I ask the question, "How do we really do it?" [37]

When asked whether reading Predictably Irrational and understanding one's irrational behaviors could make a person's life worse (such as by defeating the benefits of a placebo), Ariely responded that there could be a short-term cost, but that there would also likely be long-term benefits, and that reading his book would not make a person worse off. [38] Asked to describe The Upside of Irrationality, Ariely says,

The first half is about motivation in the workplace. It asks questions like, "What is the real effect of bonuses? What happens when we give high bonuses?" It turns out it motivates people, but it doesn't always bring higher performance. It often actually brings lower performance. Because money can stress people...The second part of "The Upside of Irrationality" is about the personal life. It's about the question, how do we find happiness? And how do we adapt to good and bad things that happen to us? And it's a little bit about emotion. [37]

Michael S. Roth writes of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, "Ariely raises the bar for everyone. In the increasingly crowded field of popular cognitive science and behavioral economics, he writes with an unusual combination of verve and sagacity. He asks us to remember our fallibility and irrationality, so that we might protect ourselves against our tendency to fool ourselves." [39]

In 2008 Ariely, along with his co-authors, Rebecca Waber, Ziv Carmon and Baba Shiv, was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in medicine for their research demonstrating that "high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine." [40]




Audio and video appearances

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Predictably Irrational</i> 2008 book by Dan Ariely

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<i>The Honest Truth about Dishonesty</i> 2012 book by Dan Ariely

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves is a 2012 book by the Duke University cognitive science professor Dan Ariely. It investigates why and when cheating occurs, debates its usefulness and questions how it can be discouraged.

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