Daniel M. Oppenheimer

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Daniel M. Oppenheimer is a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Previously, he was a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. From 2004 to 2012 he worked at Princeton University's Department of Psychology. Primarily interested in cognitive psychology, he researches causal discounting, charitable giving, perceptual fluency, and people's perceptions of randomness.[1] He won the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize in Literature for his paper "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with using long words needlessly" which argues that simple writing makes authors appear more intelligent than complex writing.[2][3] In 2012, he authored a book on political psychology and democracy, Democracy Despite Itself: Why A System That Shouldn't Work at All Works So Well.

His intellectual fearlessness is best expressed in his belief that academic rigor and a sense of humor can be mutually inclusive. Inside the lab, this belief leads him to engage in a standing bet with another scholar about who can get the stranger citation past peer-review on their papers (Oppenheimer's past successes include Chicken Run and Count Chocula).[4] Outside the lab, it leads him to publicly celebrate his love of mint chocolate chip cookies, UCLA's superior weather to Princeton's, and rickrolling undergraduate advisees.[5]


  • Oppenheimer, Danny; Edwards, Mike (2012), Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System That Shouldn't Work at All Works So Well, MIT Press, p. 256, ISBN 0-262-01723-7 


  1. ^ Princeton University (2004). Princeton University Department of Psychology: Danny Oppenheimer Princeton.edu. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  2. ^ Improbable Research Editors (2006). Winners of the Ig Noble Prize Archived 2011-02-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Improb.com. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  3. ^ Oppenheimer, D.M. (2006). Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with using long words needlessly. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 20 (2): 139–156.
  4. ^ Carter, A. (2015, April 16). 2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Daniel Oppenheimer, Anderson School. Poets and Quants, p. 1. Retrieved from http://www.poetsandquants.com
  5. ^ Wilcox, B. (2011, November 19). Personal interview.