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

Amar, M., et al. “How Counterfeits Infect Genuine Products: The Role of Moral Disgust.” Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 28, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 329–43. Scopus, doi:10.1002/jcpy.1036. Full Text

Hahn, Ezra, et al. “Slogans and donor pages of cancer centres: do they convey discordant messages?The Lancet. Oncology, vol. 19, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 447–48. Epmc, doi:10.1016/s1470-2045(18)30203-1. Full Text

Banker, S., et al. “The Sticky Anchor Hypothesis: Ego Depletion Increases Susceptibility to Situational Cues.” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, vol. 30, no. 5, Dec. 2017, pp. 1027–40. Scopus, doi:10.1002/bdm.2022. Full Text

Ariely, D., and A. Holzwarth. “The choice architecture of privacy decision-making.” Health and Technology, vol. 7, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 415–22. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s12553-017-0193-3. Full Text

Tan, Jingzhi, et al. “Bonobos respond prosocially toward members of other groups.Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, Nov. 2017, p. 14733. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15320-w. Full Text

Zenko, Z., et al. “Comparison of affect-regulated, self-regulated, and heart-rate regulated exercise prescriptions: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial.” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol. 32, Sept. 2017, pp. 124–30. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.06.010. Full Text

Chang, Leslie L., et al. “Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Heart Failure Care and Outcomes.Circulation, vol. 136, no. 8, Aug. 2017, pp. 765–72. Pubmed, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028380. Full Text

Hassidim, Ayal, et al. “Prevalence of Sharing Access Credentials in Electronic Medical Records.Healthcare Informatics Research, vol. 23, no. 3, July 2017, pp. 176–82. Epmc, doi:10.4258/hir.2017.23.3.176. Full Text

Mitkidis, P., et al. “The effects of extreme rituals on moral behavior: The performers-observers gap hypothesis.” Journal of Economic Psychology, vol. 59, Apr. 2017, pp. 1–7. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.joep.2016.12.007. Full Text

Mochon, D., et al. “What are likes worth? A facebook page field experiment.” Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 54, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 306–17. Scopus, doi:10.1509/jmr.15.0409. Full Text