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 54)
New York City, New York, U.S.
NationalityIsraeli, American
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 founder of the research institution The Center for Advanced Hindsight,[1] co-founder of the companies Kayma,[2] BEworks,[3] Timeful,[4] Genie[5] and Shapa.,[6] the Chief Behavioral Economist of Qapital and the Chief Behavioral Officer of Lemonade.[7] Ariely's TED talks have been viewed over 15 million times.[8][9][10][11] Ariely is the author of the three New York Times best sellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty,[12] as well as the books Dollars and Sense, Irrationally Yours – a collection of his popular The Wall Street Journal advice column “Ask Ariely”;[13] and Payoff, a short TED book.[14] 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.[15] In 2018 Ariely was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.[16]

Early life and family[edit]

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.[12] 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.[12] In his writings, Ariely describes how that experience led to his research on "how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients."[17][18]

Dan married Sumedha (Sumi) Gupta Ariely in 1998. They have two children, son Amit, age 18 and daughter Neta age 14.[12]

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. 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.[12][19]

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.

Business activities[edit]

In 2010 Ariely founded BEworks, the first management consulting firm dedicated to applying behavioral science to strategy, marketing, operations, and policy challenges. BEworks was acquired by kyu Collective in January 2017.[20]

In 2012 he co-founded, with Yuval Shoham and Jacob Bank, Timeful.,[4] a technology company dedicated to reinventing the way people manage their most precious resource - time. Timeful was acquired by Google In 2015.[21]

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 2017, he co-founded, with Nati Lavi, Shapa, a health monitoring and encouraging company.[6]

In 2018 he co-founded the company Kayma, which specializes in solving complex wide-scale problems through behavioral economics and original research methods.[22]

In October 2015, Ariely was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital. Ariely, who has also invested in the company,[23] 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. Entrepreneur magazine observed: "It's a synergistic relationship that points at the emergence of a new trend: the collaboration between startups and social scientists."[24]

In February 2016, Ariely was named Chief Behavioral Officer for Lemonade, a full-stack insurance company operating in the U.S. Ariely integrates aspects of behavioral economics into Lemonade's insurance model and helps to align incentives between the insurer and insured.[25]


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,[26] 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?"[27]

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.[28] 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.[27]

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."[29]

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."[30]

Other works[edit]


Ariely's firm Kayma combines research, technology and experience design to drive behavioral change in complex sectors such as education, healthcare, finance and infrastructure. The company is spearheading an array of projects for the Israeli government's Ministry of Finance. Ariely conducts the company's original research through Kayma Labs.[22]

Center for Advanced Hindsight[edit]

Ariely's laboratory, the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, pursues research in subjects like the psychology of money, decision making by physicians and patients, cheating, and social justice.[12]


Ariely is the co-founder of BEworks Inc., a firm that applies behavioral economics to business and policy challenges.

Arming the Donkeys[edit]

Arming The Donkeys is a podcast of Ariely's interviews with researchers in the fields of social and natural sciences.


  • Ariely, Dan; Kreisler, Jeff (2017), Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, 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, HarperCollins, 2015, p. 219, ISBN 978-0-06-237999-3, OCLC 891610204
  • 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


Audio and video appearances[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dan Ariely | Center for Advanced Hindsight
  2. ^ "Kayma".
  3. ^ "About Us".
  4. ^ a b "Google Buys Experimental Software That Kills Procrastination".
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2017-06-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b "Shapa, the revolutionary display free scale".
  7. ^ "A top psychologist says insurance sucks, so he's joining a startup to fix it". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  8. ^ "Ted Talks: Dan Ariely on our Buggy Moral Code".
  9. ^ "Dan Ariely: Are We In Control of Our Own Decisions?".
  10. ^ "Dan Ariely: Beware Conflicts of Interest".
  11. ^ "Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work".
  12. ^ a b c d e f When Dan Ariely found the key to human nature
  13. ^ "Irrationally Yours".
  14. ^ "Payoff".
  15. ^ "(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies".
  16. ^ Staff Writers (2018-01-08). "The 50 Most Influential Living Psychologists in the World". TheBestSchools.org. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  17. ^ Ariely, Dan. "Painful Lessons" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  18. ^ Dahl, Melissa. "How a Terrible Accident Inspired Dan Ariely’s Career Path." New York Magazine 31 July 2015.
  19. ^ http://labs.vtc.vt.edu/hnl/articles/Ariely_CV.pdf
  20. ^ Nusca, Andrew, "Exclusive: IDEO Investor Kyu Acquires BEworks, a Behavioral Economics Firm", Fortune, 9 January 2017
  21. ^ "Time is on your side—welcoming Timeful to Google". Google Blog.
  22. ^ a b "Kayma ltd". Kayma. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  23. ^ Anderson, Jenny, "The Savings App Designed by a Behavioral Economist", The Atlantic, 5 November 2015
  24. ^ Entis, Laura, "How This Famous Behavioral Economist Is Trying to Help People Solve Their Most Common Money Problems", Entrepreneur, 13 October 2015
  25. ^ "Oh, Behave!". Lemonade Blog.
  26. ^ Elizabeth Kolbert (25 February 2008). "What Was I Thinking?".
  27. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2010-09-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Predictably Irrational Is an Irresistible Look at Our Not-So-Rational Foibles" Derek Tokaz, The Commentator, Feb. 28, 2008 New York University School of Law
  29. ^ "Book Review: Dan Ariely's the (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty". 2012-08-12.
  30. ^ "Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize". Improbable Research. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  31. ^ Real Value, retrieved 2019-09-30

External links[edit]