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

Achmea Sponsored Research Agreement awarded by Achmea Vitaliteit BV (Principal Investigator). 2018

Behavioral Lab for Financial Well Being awarded by Metropolitan Life Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Honesty Building a Virtuous Cycle awarded by John Templeton Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

TRIADIC EXPECTATIONS: DECISION-MAKING IN ADVANCED CANCER awarded by National Palliative Care Research Center (Significant Contributor). 2014 to 2017

Complex and Self-serving Altruism in Research awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2014


Ariely, D., et al. “The impact of two different economic systems on dishonesty.” European Journal of Political Economy, vol. 59, Sept. 2019, pp. 179–95. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.02.010. Full Text

Yang, H., et al. “The Feeling of Not Knowing It All.” Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 29, no. 3, July 2019, pp. 455–62. Scopus, doi:10.1002/jcpy.1089. Full Text

Akbaş, M., et al. “When is inequality fair? An experiment on the effect of procedural justice and agency.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 161, May 2019, pp. 114–27. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.014. Full Text

Lee, C. Y., et al. “Small probabilistic discounts stimulate spending: Pain of paying in price promotions.” Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, vol. 4, no. 2, Apr. 2019, pp. 160–71. Scopus, doi:10.1086/701901. Full Text

Garcia-Rada, X., et al. “Consuming together (versus separately) makes the heart grow fonder.” Marketing Letters, vol. 30, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 27–43. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11002-019-09479-7. Full Text

Turner, Megan C., et al. “Impact of Disgust on Intentions to Undergo Colorectal Surgery.Dis Colon Rectum, vol. 61, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 1386–92. Pubmed, doi:10.1097/DCR.0000000000001254. Full Text

O’Brien, Julia D., et al. “Naïve models of dietary splurges: Beliefs about caloric compensation and weight change following non-habitual overconsumption.Appetite, vol. 128, Sept. 2018, pp. 321–32. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.appet.2018.06.016. Full Text

Mazar, N., et al. “If You Are Going to Pay Within the Next 24 Hours, Press 1: Automatic Planning Prompt Reduces Credit Card Delinquency.” Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 28, no. 3, July 2018, pp. 466–76. Scopus, doi:10.1002/jcpy.1031. Full Text

LeBlanc, Thomas W., et al. “Triadic treatment decision-making in advanced cancer: a pilot study of the roles and perceptions of patients, caregivers, and oncologists.Support Care Cancer, vol. 26, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 1197–205. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00520-017-3942-y. Full Text

Ariely, D., et al. “Social Norms and the Price of Zero.” Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 28, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 180–91. Scopus, doi:10.1002/jcpy.1018. Full Text