Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely

Professor of 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

Yang, H, Carmon, Z, Ariely, D, and Norton, MI. "The Feeling of Not Knowing It All." Journal of Consumer Psychology (January 1, 2019). Full Text

Garcia-Rada, X, Anik, L, and Ariely, D. "Consuming together (versus separately) makes the heart grow fonder." Marketing Letters (January 1, 2019). Full Text

Turner, MC, O'Brien, JD, Kahn, RM, Mantyh, CR, Migaly, J, and Ariely, D. "Impact of Disgust on Intentions to Undergo Colorectal Surgery." Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 61, no. 12 (December 2018): 1386-1392. Full Text

O'Brien, JD, Kahn, RM, Zenko, Z, Fernandez, JR, and Ariely, D. "Naïve models of dietary splurges: Beliefs about caloric compensation and weight change following non-habitual overconsumption." Appetite 128 (September 2018): 321-332. Full Text

Mazar, N, Mochon, D, and Ariely, D. "If You Are Going to Pay Within the Next 24 Hours, Press 1: Automatic Planning Prompt Reduces Credit Card Delinquency." Journal of Consumer Psychology 28, no. 3 (July 1, 2018): 466-476. Full Text

Amar, M, Ariely, D, Carmon, Z, and Yang, H. "How Counterfeits Infect Genuine Products: The Role of Moral Disgust." Journal of Consumer Psychology 28, no. 2 (April 2018): 329-343. Full Text

Hahn, E, Ariely, D, Tannock, I, Fyles, A, and Corn, BW. "Slogans and donor pages of cancer centres: do they convey discordant messages?." The Lancet. Oncology 19, no. 4 (April 2018): 447-448. Full Text

LeBlanc, TW, Bloom, N, Wolf, SP, Lowman, SG, Pollak, KI, Steinhauser, KE, Ariely, D, and Tulsky, JA. "Triadic treatment decision-making in advanced cancer: a pilot study of the roles and perceptions of patients, caregivers, and oncologists." Supportive Care in Cancer : Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 26, no. 4 (April 2018): 1197-1205. Full Text

Ariely, D, Gneezy, U, and Haruvy, E. "Social Norms and the Price of Zero." Journal of Consumer Psychology 28, no. 2 (April 2018): 180-191. Full Text

Banker, S, Ainsworth, SE, Baumeister, RF, Ariely, D, and Vohs, KD. "The Sticky Anchor Hypothesis: Ego Depletion Increases Susceptibility to Situational Cues." Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 30, no. 5 (December 1, 2017): 1027-1040. 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, and Carmon, Z. "Summary assessment of experiences: The whole is different from the sum of its parts." In Time and Decision: Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Intertemporal Choice, 323-349. January 1, 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 15, 2009. Full Text

Ariely, D, Loewenstein, G, and Prelec, D. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. May 1, 2006. Full Text Open Access Copy

Mazar, N, and Ariely, D. Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications. January 1, 2006. Full Text

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." December 1, 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 1, 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 1, 2005. Full Text Open Access Copy

Selected Grants

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

Zilveren Kruis sponsored research agreement awarded by Zilveren Kruis (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2021

SunTrust Bank research agreement awarded by SunTrust Banks, Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Vaccination Rates awarded by GlaxoSmithKline (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Paternalistic interventions in health care awarded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Achmea Sponsored Research Agreement awarded by Achmea Vitaliteit BV (Principal Investigator). 2018

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 2018

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