Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Economics

External Address: 
American Tobacco Campus, Strickland Bldg., 334 Blackwell St. Suite 320, Durham, NC 27701
Internal Office Address: 
Box 104117, Durham, NC 27708


HI, I'M DAN ARIELY. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.

My immersive introduction to irrationality took place many years ago while I was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion. The range of treatments in the burn department, and particularly the daily “bath” made me face a variety of irrational behaviors that were immensely painful and persistent. Upon leaving the hospital, I wanted to understand how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients, so I began conducting research in this area.

I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.

A few years later, decision making and behavioral economics dramatically influenced my personal life when I found myself using all of the knowledge I’d accumulated in order to convince Sumi to marry me (a decision that was in my best interest but not necessarily in hers). After managing to convince her, I realized that if understanding decision-making could help me achieve this goal, it could help anyone in their daily life.

Irrationally YoursPredictably IrrationalThe Upside of Irrationality,The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, the movie Dishonesty and the card game Irrational Game are my attempt to take my research findings and describe them in non academic terms, so that more people will learn about this type of research, discover the excitement of behavioral economics, and possibly use some of the insights to enrich their own lives.

In terms of official positions, I am the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

My free time is spent working on a guide to the kitchen and life—Dining Without Crumbs: The Art of Eating Over the Kitchen Sink—and of course, studying the irrational ways we all behave.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 1998

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1996

  • M.A., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1994

  • B.A., Tel Aviv University (Israel) 1991

Selected Grants

Lilly MOU awarded by Eli Lilly and Company (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2025

NINDS Research Education Programs for Residents and Fellows in Neurosurgery awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2009 to 2025

The NOVA Financial Literacy Lab A Collaboration between NOVA and Duke's Center for Advanced Hindsight awarded by Institute of Consumer Money Management (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

SunTrust Foundation research agreement awarded by SunTrust Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2021

Support for NC Counties COVID-19 response efforts awarded by Catawba County, NC (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

Support for NC Counties COVID-19 response efforts awarded by Cabarrus County (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

Support for NC Counties COVID-19 response efforts awarded by Haywood County, NC (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

Zilveren Kruis sponsored research agreement awarded by Zilveren Kruis (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2021

Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Vaccination Rates awarded by GlaxoSmithKline (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Paternalistic interventions in health care awarded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019


Ariely, D., et al. “Irrational attachment (why we love what we own).” Critical Mindfulness: Exploring Langerian Models, 2016, pp. 69–89. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30782-4_5. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M., et al. “Refund to Savings: Creating Contingency Savings at Tax Time.” A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 2015, pp. 87–106. Scopus, doi:10.1057/9781137482372_6. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M., et al. “Refund to savings: Creating contingency savings at tax time.” A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 2015, pp. 87–106. Scopus, doi:10.1057/9781137482372.0009. Full Text

Ariely, Dan, et al. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. Vol. 60, 2006, pp. 1–10.

Amir, O., et al. “Making consumption decisions by following personal rules.” Inside Consumption: Consumer Motives, Goals, and Desires, 2005, pp. 86–101. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203481295. Full Text

Ariely, Dan, et al. "Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences. Vol. 118, 2003, pp. 73–106.

Ariely, D., and Z. Carmon. “The Sum Reflects only Some of Its Parts: A Critical Overview of Research on Summary Assessment of Experiences.” Time and Decisions, edited by R. Baumeister et al., Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2003.

Ariely, D., et al. “The Pursuit and Assessment of Happiness Can be Self-Defeating.” The Psychology of Economic Decisions, edited by I. Broacs and J. Carrillo, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2003.

Ariely, D., and Z. Carmon. “Summary assessment of experiences: The whole is different from the sum of its parts.” Time and Decision: Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Intertemporal Choice, 2003, pp. 323–49.

Ariely, D., et al. Large stakes and big mistakes. 15 Apr. 2009, pp. 451–69. Scopus, doi:10.1111/j.1467-937X.2009.00534.x. Full Text

Ariely, D., et al. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. 1 May 2006, pp. 1–10. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2004.10.003. Full Text Open Access Copy

Mazar, N., and D. Ariely. Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications. 1 Jan. 2006, pp. 117–26. Scopus, doi:10.1509/jppm.25.1.117. Full Text

Spiller, S. A., and D. Ariely. “How does the perceived value of a medium of exchange depend on its set of possible uses?Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 161, Nov. 2020, pp. 188–200. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.07.005. Full Text

Miranda, J. Jaime, et al. “The Effect of a Priest-Led Intervention on the Choice and Preference of Soda Beverages: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial in Catholic Parishes.Annals of Behavioral Medicine : A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 54, no. 6, May 2020, pp. 436–46. Epmc, doi:10.1093/abm/kaz060. Full Text

Kristal, Ariella S., et al. “Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 13, Mar. 2020, pp. 7103–07. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.1911695117. Full Text

DeVore, Adam D., et al. “Care Optimization Through Patient and Hospital Engagement Clinical Trial for Heart Failure: Rationale and design of CONNECT-HF.Am Heart J, vol. 220, Feb. 2020, pp. 41–50. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2019.09.012. Full Text

Berliner Senderey, Adi, et al. “It's how you say it: Systematic A/B testing of digital messaging cut hospital no-show rates.Plos One, vol. 15, no. 6, Jan. 2020, p. e0234817. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0234817. Full Text

Nichols, Aaron D., et al. “Replicating and extending the effects of auditory religious cues on dishonest behavior.Plos One, vol. 15, no. 8, Jan. 2020, p. e0237007. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237007. Full Text

Fitz, N., et al. “Batching smartphone notifications can improve well-being.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 101, Dec. 2019, pp. 84–94. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2019.07.016. Full Text

Navajas, Joaquin, et al. “Reaching Consensus in Polarized Moral Debates.Current Biology : Cb, vol. 29, no. 23, Dec. 2019, pp. 4124-4129.e6. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.018. Full Text

Berman, Catherine J., et al. “The Limits of Cognitive Reappraisal: Changing Pain Valence, but not Persistence, during a Resistance Exercise Task.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 16, no. 19, Oct. 2019. Epmc, doi:10.3390/ijerph16193739. Full Text

Frank, Darius-Aurel, et al. “Human decision-making biases in the moral dilemmas of autonomous vehicles.Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, Sept. 2019, p. 13080. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-49411-7. Full Text


Carlson, Kurt A., et al. “The Budget Contraction Effect: Cutting Categories to Cope with Shrinking Budgets.” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol Xxxvii, vol. 37, ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2010, pp. 720–720.

Tal, A., and D. Ariely. “I really want to like it: Motivated liking.” Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 36, 2009, pp. 937–39.

Ratner, R. K., et al. “How behavioral decision research can enhance consumer welfare: From freedom of choice to paternalistic intervention.” Marketing Letters, vol. 19, no. 3–4, 2008, pp. 383–97. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11002-008-9044-3. Full Text

Ariely, Dan, et al. “"On the Discontinuity of Demand Curves Around Zero: Charging More and Selling More".” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, vol. 35, ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008, pp. 38–38.

Mazar, Nina, and Dan Ariely. “"Probabilistic Discounts: When Retailing and Las Vegas Meet".” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, vol. 35, ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008, pp. 186–87.

Norton, Michael I., and Dan Ariely. “"The "IKEA Effect": Why Labor Leads to Love".” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, vol. 35, ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008, pp. 153–153.

Frost, J., et al. “Virtual dates: Bridging the online and offline dating gap.” Acm Siggraph 2006 Research Posters, Siggraph 2006, 2006. Scopus, doi:10.1145/1179622.1179780. Full Text

Amir, O., et al. “Psychology, behavioral economics, and public policy.” Marketing Letters, vol. 16, no. 3–4, 2005, pp. 443–54. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11002-005-5904-2. Full Text Open Access Copy

Sedikides, C., et al. “Contextual and procedural determinants of partner selection: Of asymmetric dominance and prominence.” Social Cognition, vol. 17, no. 2, 1999, pp. 118–39. Scopus, doi:10.1521/soco.1999.17.2.118. Full Text