Dan Ariely

James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics

External Address: 
American Tobacco Campus, Strickland Bldg., 334 Blackwell St. Suite 320, Durham, NC 27701
Internal Office Address: 
Box 104117, Durham, NC 27708

HI, I'M DAN ARIELY. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.
My immersive introduction to irrationality took place many years ago while I was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion. The range of treatments in the burn department, and particularly the daily “bath” made me face a variety of irrational behaviors that were immensely painful and persistent. Upon leaving the hospital, I wanted to understand how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients, so I began conducting research in this area.
I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.
A few years later, decision making and behavioral economics dramatically influenced my personal life when I found myself using all of the knowledge I’d accumulated in order to convince Sumi to marry me (a decision that was in my best interest but not necessarily in hers). After managing to convince her, I realized that if understanding decision-making could help me achieve this goal, it could help anyone in their daily life.
Irrationally YoursPredictably IrrationalThe Upside of Irrationality,The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, the movie Dishonesty and the card game Irrational Game are my attempt to take my research findings and describe them in non academic terms, so that more people will learn about this type of research, discover the excitement of behavioral economics, and possibly use some of the insights to enrich their own lives.
In terms of official positions, I am the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.
My free time is spent working on a guide to the kitchen and life—Dining Without Crumbs: The Art of Eating Over the Kitchen Sink—and of course, studying the irrational ways we all behave.


  • Ph.D., Duke University 1998
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1996
  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1994
  • B.A., Tel Aviv University (Israel) 1991

Mitkidis, P, Ayal, S, Shalvi, S, Heimann, K, Levy, G, Kyselo, M, Wallot, S, Ariely, D, and Roepstorff, A. "The effects of extreme rituals on moral behavior: The performers-observers gap hypothesis." Journal of Economic Psychology 59 (April 2017): 1-7. Full Text

Mochon, D, Johnson, K, Schwartz, J, and Ariely, D. "What Are Likes Worth? A Facebook Page Field Experiment." Journal of Marketing Research 54, no. 2 (April 2017): 306-317. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M, Russell, BD, Gale, WG, Key, C, and Ariely, D. "Behavioral Interventions to Increase Tax-Time Saving: Evidence from a National Randomized Trial." Journal of Consumer Affairs 51, no. 1 (March 2017): 3-26. Full Text

Bareket-Bojmel, L, Hochman, G, and Ariely, D. "It’s (Not) All About the Jacksons: Testing Different Types of Short-Term Bonuses in the Field." Journal of Management 43, no. 2 (February 1, 2017): 534-554. Full Text

Jahedi, S, Deck, C, and Ariely, D. "Arousal and economic decision making." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 134 (February 2017): 165-189. Full Text

Banker, S, Ainsworth, SE, Baumeister, RF, Ariely, D, and Vohs, KD. "The Sticky Anchor Hypothesis: Ego Depletion Increases Susceptibility to Situational Cues (Accepted)." Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (January 1, 2017). Full Text

Mazar, N, Shampanier, K, and Ariely, D. "When Retailing and Las Vegas Meet: Probabilistic Free Price Promotions." Management Science 63, no. 1 (January 2017): 250-266. Full Text

Mochon, D, Schwartz, J, Maroba, J, Patel, D, and Ariely, D. "Gain Without Pain: The Extended Effects of a Behavioral Health Intervention." Management Science 63, no. 1 (January 2017): 58-72. Full Text

Schwartz, JA, and Ariely, D. "Life is a battlefield." Independent Review 20, no. 3 (December 1, 2016): 377-382. (Review)

Ariely, D, Bracha, A, and L'Huillier, J-P. "Public and Private Values." Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 29, no. 5 (December 2016): 550-555. Full Text


Hughes, CE, Hughes, , Ariely, D, and Eckerman, DA. The Joy of Experimental Psychology. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, January 1, 1999.

Ariely, D, Trower, M, and Grüneisen, A. "Irrational attachment (why we love what we own)." In Critical Mindfulness: Exploring Langerian Models, 69-89. January 1, 2016. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M, Comer, K, Russell, B, Key, C, Perantie, D, and Ariely, D. "Refund to Savings: Creating Contingency Savings at Tax Time." In A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 87-106. March 11, 2015. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M, Comer, K, Russell, B, Key, C, Perantie, D, and Ariely, D. "Refund to savings: Creating contingency savings at tax time." In A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 87-106. January 1, 2015. Full Text

Ariely, D, Loewenstein, G, and Prelec, D. "Tom Sawyer and the construction of value." 1-10. May 2006.

Amir, O, Lobel, O, and Ariely, D. "Making consumption decisions by following personal rules." In Inside Consumption: Consumer Motives, Goals, and Desires, 86-101. August 11, 2005. Full Text

Ariely, D, and Carmon, Z. "The Sum Reflects only Some of Its Parts: A Critical Overview of Research on Summary Assessment of Experiences." In Time and Decisions,edited by R Baumeister, G Loewenstein, and D Read. Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2003.

Ariely, D, Schooler, J, and Loewenstein, G. "The Pursuit and Assessment of Happiness Can be Self-Defeating." In The Psychology of Economic Decisions,edited by I Broacs and J Carrillo. Oxford University Press (OUP), 2003.

Ariely, D, Loewenstein, G, and Prelec, D. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences." 73-106. 2003.

Ariely, D, Gneezy, U, Loewenstein, G, and Mazar, N. Large Stakes and Big Mistakes. April 2009. Full Text

Ariely, D, Loewenstein, G, and Prelec, D. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. May 2006. Full Text Open Access Copy

Carlson, KA, Wolfe, J, Ariely, D, Huber, J, and Res, AC. "The Budget Contraction Effect: Cutting Categories to Cope with Shrinking Budgets." 2010.

Tal, A, and Ariely, D. "I Really Want to Like It: Motivated Liking." 2009.

Ratner, RK, Soman, D, Zauberman, G, Ariely, D, Carmon, Z, Keller, PA, Kim, BK, Lin, F, Malkoc, S, Small, DA, and Wertenbroch, K. "How behavioral decision research can enhance consumer welfare: From freedom of choice to paternalistic intervention." December 2008. Full Text

Norton, MI, and Ariely, D. ""The "IKEA Effect": Why Labor Leads to Love"." 2008.

Frost, J, Norton, MI, and Ariely, D. "Virtual dates: Bridging the online and offline dating gap." July 30, 2006. Full Text

Amir, O, Ariely, D, Cooke, A, Dunning, D, Epley, N, Gneezy, U, Koszegi, B, Lichtenstein, D, Mazar, N, Mullainathan, S, Prelec, D, Shafir, E, and Silva, J. "Psychology, behavioral economics, and public policy." December 2005. Full Text Open Access Copy

Lilly MOU awarded by Eli Lilly and Company (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2025

Behavioral Lab for Financial Well Being awarded by Metropolitan Life Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Honesty Building a Virtuous Cycle awarded by John Templeton Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2017

TRIADIC EXPECTATIONS: DECISION-MAKING IN ADVANCED CANCER awarded by National Palliative Care Research Center (Significant Contributor). 2014 to 2017

Complex and Self-serving Altruism in Research awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2014