Dan Ariely

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Dan Ariely
Dan Ariely in 2019 at Tel Aviv University's Alumni Organization
Born (1967-04-29) April 29, 1967 (age 56)
New York City, New York, U.S.
EducationCognitive Psychology (PhD)
Business Administration (PhD)
Alma materDuke University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tel Aviv University
Known forBehavioral Economics
Scientific career
InstitutionsDuke University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisorJames Bettman
John G. Lynch Jr.

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 co-founder of several companies implementing insights from behavioral science.[1] Ariely wrote an advice column called Ask Ariely in the WSJ from June 2012 until September 2022.[2] Ariely is the author of the three New York Times best selling books Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty.[3] He co-produced the 2015 documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.[4]

Since 2021, Ariely has faced multiple accusations of data fraud and academic misconduct, which have resulted in a retracted paper.[5][6] In 2024, Duke completed a 3-year confidential investigation and according to Ariely concluded that "data from the honesty-pledge paper had been falsified but found no evidence that Ariely used fake data knowingly".[7]


Dan Ariely was born to Yoram and Dafna Ariely in New York City while his father was studying for an MBA degree at Columbia University. He has two sisters. The family immigrated to Israel when he was three years old. He grew up in Ramat Hasharon[3] and attended Makif Hasharon High School.

In his senior year of high school, Ariely 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 to over 70 percent of his body.[3] In his writings entitled "Painful Lessons," Ariely described his hospitalization and treatments, detailing how that experience led to his research on "how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients."[8][9]

Ariely was previously married to Sumedha (Sumi) Gupta in 1998.[10] They have two children.

Education and academic career[edit]

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, graduating in 1991. In 1994 he earned a masters in cognitive psychology, and in 1996 he earned a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ariely completed a second Ph.D. in Business Administration at Duke University in 1998, at the urging of Daniel Kahneman,[3][11] winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

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.[3]

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."[12]

Business career[edit]

Ariely has co-founded a number of companies. 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.[13] In 2012, he co-founded Timeful with Yoav Shoham and Jacob Bank,[1] developing a time management app. Timeful was acquired by Google in 2015.[14] He also co-founded the companies Genie (a kitchen appliance for cooking healthy food, 2013),[15] Irrational Labs (consulting, 2013),[16] Shapa (health monitoring, 2017),[17] Kayma (behavioral research for the Israeli Ministry of Finance, 2018),[18] and Irrational Capital (quantifying corporate culture for investors, 2018).

In 2015, Ariely invested in and was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital,[19] which develops a personal finance app and collaborates with Ariely on research on consumer saving and spending behavior. In 2016, Ariely was named Chief Behavioral Officer for Lemonade, an insurance company, to integrate aspects of behavioral economics into Lemonade's insurance model.[20]


Experiment without ethics approval[edit]

In 2006, when Ariely was a professor at the MIT Media Lab, he conducted experiments including electric shocks without the fully finalized procedure of ethics approval. MIT's Institutional Review Board (IRB) originally granted a human experiment, but afterwards there was a change in the protocol for which a fresh approval was only granted after the experiments had been conducted. MIT's ethics committee banned Ariely from conducting experiments for a year.[21] The university found that Ariely's assistant in running the study had no human-subjects training.[22] Ariely confirmed that he was suspended from research at MIT and said that he thought the experiments had been approved, and that he did not remember receiving a letter asking additional questions.[6][23]

Manipulated data in an experiment about dishonesty[edit]

In August 2021, data from a field study in a 2012 PNAS paper[24] by Lisa L. Shu, Nina Mazar, Francesca Gino, Dan Ariely, and Max H. Bazerman was reanalyzed on the blog Data Colada.[25][5] The blog post claimed that the study data was fabricated.[26][27] All of the 2012 study's authors agreed with this assessment and the paper was retracted.[27][28] The study's authors also agreed that Ariely was the only author to have had access to the data prior to transmitting it in its fraudulent form to Nina Mazar, the analyst in February 2011.[26] Dan Ariely denied manipulating the data prior to forwarding it on to Mazar[29] but Excel metadata showed that he created the spreadsheet and was the last to edit it. In the 2011 email exchange provided by Mazar, she pointed out to Ariely that the effect was in the opposite direction of what they hypothesized. In response, Ariely claimed that he had accidentally reversed every value in the conditions column of the dataset when he relabeled them to make them more descriptive and asked her to flip them all back. She complied.[26][30] A reporter at the New Yorker was able to obtain the original, unaltered data from the insurance company and found that the labels were never changed to be more descriptive.[31]

Ariely suggested that the data may have been fabricated by someone at the insurance company that had provided it.[32][33] In a July 2023 episode covering the allegations of misconduct, NPR's Planet Money published a statement of The Hartford, the insurance company in question, alleging substantial differences between the original dataset sent to Ariely in May 2008 and the data published by Ariely and colleagues.[34] The company said it found "significant changes made to the size, shape and characteristics of our data after we provided it and without our knowledge or consent."[34] For example, the statement said that the provided dataset contained 6,033 vehicles, while the published dataset contained 20,741. The company said that on the dataset it had provided, there was no "statistically significant difference between those who signed forms at the beginning and those who signed forms at the end", and noted that the published dataset used two different fonts, with data in Calibri font being tied to their data while data in Cambria font "appears to have been synthesized or fabricated".[34] Planet Money included a response by Ariely that "I got the data file from the insurance company in about 2007, and I can't tell now who had access to it. Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data."[34][35]

Other disputes about data reliability[edit]

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.[36] A Delta Dental spokesperson denied collecting data that could support such a conclusion.[37] Ariely maintained that he was told about the finding by a Delta Dental medical officer whom Ariely did not identify.[38] Ariely had not seen or analyzed any data to back up the claim.[38]

In July 2021, the journal Psychological Science challenged a 2004 paper by James Heyman and Dan Ariely, "prompted by some uncertainty regarding the values of statistical tests reported in the article and the analytic approach taken to the data".[39] The authors were unable to resolve the ambiguities because the original participant-level data was no longer available. A follow-up analysis, and a letter to the editor by Gregory Francis from the Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University demonstrated that the problem in the paper could be a simple reporting error in which t-statistics were reported as F-statistics by mistake. Francis also showed that this error does not negate the findings in the original article.[40]

In November 2022 an Israeli TV investigative show, Hamakor (Channel 13), aired an episode[41][42] questioning a number of Ariely's studies that were not reproducible or for which there were substantial doubts as to their reliability—as to the way they were carried out, as to the data collected, or as to whether the studies were carried out at all. For example, Ariely claimed that data for his "Ten Commandments" study (Amir, Mazar, and Ariely, 2008) were collected in 2004–2005 at UCLA with the assistance of Professor Aimee Drolet Rossi. However, Drolet Rossi denies having run the study,[31] and UCLA has issued a statement that the study did not take place there.[31]

Published works[edit]


Ariely is the author of several popular science books about irrationality, dishonesty, and decision making. His first book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions,[43] was published in 2008 and discusses a number of systematic mistakes people commit, mostly in financial decision.[44] Examples include overlooking downsides of "free" offers, framing effects, the problems of procrastination and self-control, and the endowment effect. In The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (2010), Ariely discusses the effects of irrationality on the workplace and personal life. Other books include Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves.

  • Ariely, Dan; Kreisler, Jeff (2017), Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780062651204
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, HarperCollins, 2008, pp. 304, ISBN 978-0-06-135323-9, OCLC 182521026 Second edition in 2012
  • The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home, HarperCollins, 2010, p. 352, ISBN 978-0-06-199503-3, OCLC 464593990
  • The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, HarperCollins, 2012, p. 255, ISBN 978-0-06-218359-0, OCLC 757484553
  • Irrationally yours: on missing socks, pick-up lines and other existential puzzles, Harper Perennial, 2015, ISBN 978-0-06-237999-3
  • Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, Simon & Schuster/ TED, 2016, p. 128, ISBN 9781501120046
  • Amazing Decisions: The Illustrated Guide to Improving Business Deals and Family Meals (illustrated by Matt R. Trower), Hill & Wang, 2019, p. 224, ISBN 9780374103767
  • Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things, 2023

Selected articles[edit]

Audio and video appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b Olson, Parmy (May 5, 2015). "Google Buys Experimental Software That Kills Procrastination". Forbes.
  2. ^ Ariely, Dan (September 22, 2022). "A Decade's Worth of Social-Scientific Advice". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Shani, Ayelett (April 5, 2012). "When Dan Ariely found the key to human nature". Haaretz. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies". IMDb. May 22, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "How data detectives spotted fake numbers in a widely cited paper". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Behavioral researcher says he 'undoubtedly made a mistake' in false data scandal". The Times of Israel. September 4, 2021. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  7. ^ Taylor, Kate (February 25, 2024). "Duke's 3-year fraud investigation into Dan Ariely has ended, and the star professor still has a job. Does he want it?". Business Insider.
  8. ^ Ariely, Dan. "Painful Lessons" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  9. ^ Dahl, Melissa (July 31, 2015). "How a Terrible Accident Inspired Dan Ariely's Career Path". New York magazine. Archived from the original on November 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "Interview with Daniel Ariely, PhD". Mentor Coach. October 31, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  11. ^ "Dan Ariely CV" (PDF). labs.vtc.vt.edu. April 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2020.
  12. ^ "Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize". Improbable Research. August 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  13. ^ Nusca, Andrew (January 10, 2017). "Exclusive: IDEO Investor Kyu Acquires BEworks, a Behavioral Economics Firm". Fortune.
  14. ^ "Time is on your side—welcoming Timeful to Google". Google Blog.
  15. ^ "Genie | About us". genie.cooking. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  16. ^ "Irrational Labs - the Behavioral Scientist".
  17. ^ "Shapa, the revolutionary display free scale".
  18. ^ "Kayma ltd". Kayma. Retrieved June 8, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Anderson, Jenny; Quartz (November 6, 2015). "The Savings App Designed by a Behavioral Economist". The Atlantic.
  20. ^ "Oh, Behave!". Lemonade Blog.
  21. ^ "Dan Ariely was suspended from research at MIT after conducting unauthorized experiment with human subjects". המקום הכי חם. August 23, 2021. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  22. ^ Lewis-Kraus, Gideon (September 30, 2023). "They Studied Dishonesty. Was Their Work a Lie?". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  23. ^ Lukacs, Ilan (September 3, 2021). "טעיתי, המוניטין שלי יספוג מכה": דן אריאלי שובר שתיקה - ומה גרם לו לבכות?" [I was wrong, my reputation will "take a hit": Dan Arieli breaks the silence – and what made him cry?]. Channel 12 (in Hebrew).
  24. ^ "A study on dishonesty was based on fraudulent data". The Economist. August 20, 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  25. ^ Roeloffs, Mary Whitfill. "The 2023 Halftime Report: The Biggest, Best—And Worst (So Far)". Forbes. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  26. ^ a b c "[98] Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About Dishonesty". Data Colada. August 17, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  27. ^ a b Lee, Stephanie M. (August 20, 2021). "A Famous Honesty Researcher Is Retracting A Study Over Fake Data". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  28. ^ ToI Staff. "Behavioral researcher says he 'undoubtedly made a mistake' in false data scandal". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  29. ^ Ariely, Dan (August 16, 2021). "Dan Blog Comment" (PDF). datacolada.org. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  30. ^ Charlton, Aaron (August 17, 2021). "Conflicts between Dan Ariely's statement and Footnote #14 (DataColada #98)". OpenMKT.org. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  31. ^ a b c Lewis-Kraus, Gideon (September 30, 2023). "They Studied Dishonesty. Was Their Work a Lie?". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  32. ^ Charlton, Aaron (August 21, 2022). "Dan Ariely claims authorship order shields him from blame; speculates that a low-level envelope stuffer committed the fraud". OpenMKT.org. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  33. ^ "דן אריאלי: "אנשים צועקים עליי ברחוב, קוראים לי רוצח ופסיכופת"". הארץ (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  34. ^ a b c d Fountain, Nick; Guo, Jeff; Romer, Keith; Peaslee, Emma (July 28, 2023). "Fabricated data in research about honesty. You can't make this stuff up. Or, can you?". NPR: Planet Money. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  35. ^ Fountain, Nick (July 28, 2023). "Ariely, in a statement, now says: "Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data."". Twitter. Retrieved July 29, 2023. As I said two years ago, I was responsible for relationship with the insurance company that provided the data for the paper. I got the data file from the insurance company in about 2007 and I can't tell now who had access to it. Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data.
  36. ^ "The 'Irrational' Way Humans Interact With Dentists". NPR. October 5, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  37. ^ "Letters: Dentists". NPR. October 13, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  38. ^ a b Shepard, Alicia C. (November 8, 2010). "Should You be Suspicious of Your Dentist or NPR's Source?". WBUR.
  39. ^ Bauer, Patricia J.; Ariely, Dan (July 23, 2021). "Expression of Concern: Effort for Payment: A Tale of Two Markets". Psychological Science. 32 (8): 1338–1339. doi:10.1177/09567976211035782. ISSN 0956-7976. PMID 34296633. S2CID 236200023.
  40. ^ Bauer, Patricia J.; Ariely, Dan (2021). "Sj-docx-1-PSS-10.1177_09567976211035782 – Supplemental material for Expression of Concern: Effort for Payment: A Tale of Two Markets". doi:10.25384/SAGE.16543740.v1. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  41. ^ "המקור, עונה 21, פרק 19: חוקר השקרים | חדשות 13". רשת 13 (in Hebrew). Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  42. ^ "Dan Ariely Investigation by The Source – The Lies Researcher – Transcript". www.thebehavioralscientist.com. July 8, 2023. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  43. ^ Elizabeth Kolbert (February 25, 2008). "What Was I Thinking?". The New Yorker.
  44. ^ Tokaz, Derek (February 28, 2008). "Predictably Irrational Is an Irresistible Look at Our Not-So-Rational Foibles" (PDF). The Commentator (Student newspaper of NYU Law School). New York University School of Law. p. 7.

External links[edit]