This biographical article is written like a résumé. (July 2018)
Dan Ariely in 2010
April 29, 1967|
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cognitive Psychology (PhD)|
Business Administration (PhD)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tel Aviv University
|Known for||Behavioral Economics|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John G. Lynch Jr.
Dan Ariely (Hebrew: ; born April 29, 1967) is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa. Ariely is also associated with Qapital and Lemonade in the capacity of Chief Behavioral Economist and Chief Behavioral Officer, respectively. Ariely's TED talks have been viewed over 10 million times. He is the author of Dollars and Sense, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty. All three books became New York Times best sellers. He also wrote two semi-books: Irrationally Yours - an illustrated collection of his immensely popular The Wall Street Journal advice column, "Ask Ariely" - and Payoff, a short TED book. Ariely was involved in the movie (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies as both a producer and a participant.
Dan Ariely was born in New York City while his father was studying for an MBA degree at Columbia University. The family returned to Israel when he was three. He grew up in Ramat Hasharon. In his senior year of high school, he was active in Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, an Israeli youth movement. While 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. In his writings Ariely describes how that experience led to his research on "how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients."
Ariely is married to Dr. Sumedha "Sumi" Ariely, with whom he has two children, son Amit and daughter Neta.
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 which he received his B.A. in 1991. He also holds an M.A. (1994) and a Ph.D. (1996) in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed a second doctorate in business administration at Duke University in 1998 at the urging of Nobel economic sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman.
After obtaining his PhD degree, he 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. And in 2015 he became the University Professor at Duke.
Ariely was a founding member of BEworks, the first management consulting firm dedicated to the practice of applying behavioral science to strategy, marketing, operations, and policy challenges. BEworks was acquired by kyu Collective on January 2017.
Ariely, together with Yuval Shoham and Jacob Bank, co-founded Timeful. Timeful is a technology company dedicated to reinventing the way that people manage their most precious resource: time. In 2015 Timeful was sold to Google.
Together with Doron Marco and Ayelet Carasso Dan is a co-founder of Genie, a magical kitchen appliance uniquely designed to create personalized healthy dishes, in about a minute, and together with Nati Lavi Dan is a co-founder of Shapa a health monitoring and encouraging company.
In October 2015, Ariely was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital. Ariely, who has also invested in the company, uses his access to the app's platform and database to assist him in independent research into 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 that, "It's a synergistic relationship that points at the emergence of a new trend: the collaboration between startups and social scientists."
In February 2016, Ariely joined Lemonade, a full-stack insurance company operating in the U.S., as Chief Behavioral Officer, aiding the company in integrating aspects of behavioral economics into their insurance model and aligning incentives between the insurer and insured.
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, 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?"
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. 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.
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."
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." In early 2018, Ariely was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.
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.
Ariely is the co-founder of BEworks Inc., a firm that applies behavioral economics to business and policy challenges.
Arming The Donkeys is a podcast of Ariely's interviews with researchers in the fields of social and natural sciences.