Dan Ariely

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 55)
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
Sumedha Gupta
(m. 1998)
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] as well as the co-founder of several companies implementing insights from behavioral science.[2][3][4][5][6] Ariely's TED talks have been viewed over 15 million times.[7][8][9][10] Ariely wrote an advice column called Ask Ariely in the WSJ for over ten years; he stepped away from the column at the end of 2022.[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 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]

Early life and family[edit]

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 emigrated to Israel when he was three. He grew up in Ramat Hasharon[12] 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 over 70 percent of his body.[12] 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."[16][17]

Ariely married Sumedha (Sumi) Gupta in 1998.[18] 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,[12][19] 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.[12]

Business activities[edit]

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.[20] In 2012, he co-founded, with Yuval Shoham and Jacob Bank, Timeful,[4] a technology company aiming to help people manage their 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 2015, Ariely was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital. Ariely, who has also invested in the company,[22] 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. In 2016, Ariely was named Chief Behavioral Officer for Lemonade, an insurance company, to integrate aspects of behavioral economics into Lemonade's insurance model and help them align incentives between the insurer and insured.[23]

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 uses behavioral economics and original research methods. The company works on projects for the Israeli government's Ministry of Finance.[24]

Accusations of data fraud and academic misconduct[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.[25] A Delta Dental spokesperson later stated that they do not collect data that could support such a conclusion.[26][27]

In July 2021, the journal Psychological Science issued an Expression of Concern regarding 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".[28] 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.[29]

In August 2021, data from a field study in a 2012 PNAS paper[30] by Lisa L. Shu, Nina Mazar, Francesca Gino, Dan Ariely, and Max H. Bazerman was reanalyzed on the blog Data Colada. The blog post claimed that the study data was fabricated.[31][32] All of the 2012 study's authors agreed with this assessment and the paper was retracted.[32] The study's authors also agreed that Dan 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.[31] Dan Ariely denied manipulating the data prior to forwarding it on to Mazar[33] but Excel metadata showed that he created the spreadsheet and was the last to edit it. He also admitted to having mislabeled all of the values in an entire column of the data in e-mail communication with Mazar that took place shortly after he initially sent her the data.[31][34] Dan Ariely has claimed that someone at the insurance agency that provided the data must have fabricated it.[35][36]

Allegations were made regarding Ariely, while was at MIT, running an experiment involving electrical shock without prior required ethics approval, regarding the value of placebos (Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy). One of the participants complained, and MIT's Institutional Review Board (IRB) only granted a human experiment approval (with modifications) after the experiment was concluded. The ethics committee decided to forbid Ariely to run experiments for a year, after which he moved to Duke University.[37] Ariely confirmed that he was suspended from collecting data and said it was a misunderstanding between him and the IRB.[38][39]

In November 2022, a TV investigation show Hamakor (Channel 13) aired an episode[40] questioning a number of Ariely's studies that were not reproducible or that there are significant doubts about their reliability - the way they were carried out, the data collected or in general the very fact that they were carried out. For example, Ariely claimed that data for his "Ten Commandments" study (Amir, Mazar, and Ariely, 2008) was collected at UCLA with the assistance of Professor Aimee Drolet. However, Drolet denies that she ran the study as the authors described.


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,[41] 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?"[42]

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.[43] 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.[42]

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."[44]



  • 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. Publisher Harper Collins
  • 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". Archived from the original on May 23, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  3. ^ "About Us". Archived from the original on April 20, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Olson, Parmy (May 5, 2015). "Google Buys Experimental Software That Kills Procrastination". Forbes.
  5. ^ a b "Genie | About us". genie.cooking. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Shapa, the revolutionary display free scale".
  7. ^ "Ted Talks: Dan Ariely on our Buggy Moral Code". March 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "Dan Ariely: Are We In Control of Our Own Decisions?". May 19, 2009.
  9. ^ "Dan Ariely: Beware Conflicts of Interest". August 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work". April 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Ariely, Dan. "A Decade's Worth of Social-Scientific Advice". WSJ. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Irrationally Yours". Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  14. ^ "Payoff". Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies". IMDb. May 22, 2015.
  16. ^ Ariely, Dan. "Painful Lessons" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "Interview with Daniel Ariely, PhD". Mentor Coach. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  19. ^ "Dan Ariely CV" (PDF). labs.vtc.vt.edu. April 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2020.
  20. ^ Nusca, Andrew (January 10, 2017). "Exclusive: IDEO Investor Kyu Acquires BEworks, a Behavioral Economics Firm". Fortune.
  21. ^ "Time is on your side—welcoming Timeful to Google". Google Blog.
  22. ^ Anderson, Jenny; Quartz (November 6, 2015). "The Savings App Designed by a Behavioral Economist". The Atlantic.
  23. ^ "Oh, Behave!". Lemonade Blog.
  24. ^ "Kayma ltd". Kayma. Retrieved June 8, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "The 'Irrational' Way Humans Interact With Dentists". NPR.org. October 5, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  26. ^ "Letters: Dentists". NPR.org. October 13, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  27. ^ Shepard, Alicia C. (November 8, 2010). "Should You be Suspicious of Your Dentist or NPR's Source?". NPR News.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ url=https://figshare.com/articles/journal_contribution/sj-docx-1-pss-10_1177_09567976211035782_Supplemental_material_for_Expression_of_Concern_Effort_for_Payment_A_Tale_of_Two_Markets/16543740
  30. ^ "A study on dishonesty was based on fraudulent data". The Economist. August 20, 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  31. ^ a b c "[98] Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About Dishonesty". Data Colada. August 17, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Ariely, Dan (August 16, 2021). "Dan Blog Comment" (PDF). datacolada.org. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  34. ^ Charlton, Aaron (August 17, 2021). "Conflicts between Dan Ariely's statement and Footnote #14 (DataColada #98)". OpenMKT.org. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ "דן אריאלי: "אנשים צועקים עליי ברחוב, קוראים לי רוצח ופסיכופת"". הארץ (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  37. ^ "Dan Ariely was suspended from collecting data at MIT after conducting unauthorized experiment with human subjects". המקום הכי חם (in Hebrew). August 23, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  38. ^ "Behavioral researcher says he 'undoubtedly made a mistake' in false data scandal". The Times of Israel. September 4, 2021.
  39. ^ 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).
  40. ^ "המקור, עונה 21, פרק 19: חוקר השקרים | חדשות 13". רשת 13 (in Hebrew). Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  41. ^ Elizabeth Kolbert (February 25, 2008). "What Was I Thinking?". The New Yorker.
  42. ^ a b O'Brien, Anne (September 29, 2010). "Predictably Irrational: A Conversation with Best-Selling Author Dan Ariely". LearningFirst.org. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ "Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize". Improbable Research. August 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2013.

External links[edit]