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

Fitz, N., K. Kushlev, R. Jagannathan, T. Lewis, D. Paliwal, and D. Ariely. “Batching smartphone notifications can improve well-being.” Computers in Human Behavior 101 (December 1, 2019): 84–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.07.016. Full Text

Berman, Catherine J., Julia D. O’Brien, Zachary Zenko, and Dan Ariely. “The Limits of Cognitive Reappraisal: Changing Pain Valence, but not Persistence, during a Resistance Exercise Task..” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 19 (October 4, 2019). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193739. Full Text

Frank, Darius-Aurel, Polymeros Chrysochou, Panagiotis Mitkidis, and Dan Ariely. “Human decision-making biases in the moral dilemmas of autonomous vehicles..” Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (September 11, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-49411-7. Full Text

Ariely, D., X. Garcia-Rada, K. Gödker, L. Hornuf, and H. Mann. “The impact of two different economic systems on dishonesty.” European Journal of Political Economy 59 (September 1, 2019): 179–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.02.010. Full Text

Yang, H., Z. Carmon, D. Ariely, and M. I. Norton. “The Feeling of Not Knowing It All.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 29, no. 3 (July 1, 2019): 455–62. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1089. Full Text

Akbaş, M., D. Ariely, and S. Yuksel. “When is inequality fair? An experiment on the effect of procedural justice and agency.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 161 (May 1, 2019): 114–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.014. Full Text

Garcia-Rada, X., L. Anik, and D. Ariely. “Consuming together (versus separately) makes the heart grow fonder.” Marketing Letters 30, no. 1 (March 15, 2019): 27–43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-019-09479-7. Full Text

Turner, Megan C., Julia D. O’Brien, Rachel M. Kahn, Christopher R. Mantyh, John Migaly, and Dan Ariely. “Impact of Disgust on Intentions to Undergo Colorectal Surgery..” Dis Colon Rectum 61, no. 12 (December 2018): 1386–92. https://doi.org/10.1097/DCR.0000000000001254. Full Text

O’Brien, Julia D., Rachel M. Kahn, Zachary Zenko, Jessica R. Fernandez, and Dan Ariely. “Naïve models of dietary splurges: Beliefs about caloric compensation and weight change following non-habitual overconsumption..” Appetite 128 (September 2018): 321–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.06.016. Full Text

Mazar, N., D. Mochon, and D. Ariely. “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): 466–76. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1031. Full Text


Hughes, Christine E., Dan Ariely, and David A. Eckerman. The Joy of Experimental Psychology. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1999.

Ariely, D., M. Trower, and A. Grüneisen. “Irrational attachment (why we love what we own).” In Critical Mindfulness: Exploring Langerian Models, 69–89, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-30782-4_5. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M., K. Comer, B. Russell, C. Key, D. Perantie, and D. Ariely. “Refund to Savings: Creating Contingency Savings at Tax Time.” In A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 87–106, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137482372_6. Full Text

Grinstein-Weiss, M., K. Comer, B. Russell, C. Key, D. Perantie, and D. Ariely. “Refund to savings: Creating contingency savings at tax time.” In A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers, 87–106, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137482372.0009. Full Text

Ariely, Dan, George Loewenstein, and Drazen Prelec. “Tom Sawyer and the construction of value,” 60:1–10, 2006.

Amir, O., O. Lobel, and D. Ariely. “Making consumption decisions by following personal rules.” In Inside Consumption: Consumer Motives, Goals, and Desires, 86–101, 2005. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203481295. Full Text

Ariely, D., and Z. Carmon. “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, 323–49, 2003.

Ariely, Dan, George Loewenstein, and Drazen Prelec. “"Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences,” 118:73–106, 2003.

Ariely, D., and Z. Carmon. “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., J. Schooler, and G. Loewenstein. “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., U. Gneezy, G. Loewenstein, and N. Mazar. “Large stakes and big mistakes,” April 15, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2009.00534.x. Full Text

Carlson, Kurt A., Jared Wolfe, Dan Ariely, and Joel Huber. “The Budget Contraction Effect: Cutting Categories to Cope with Shrinking Budgets.” In Advances in Consumer Research, Vol Xxxvii, 37:720–720. ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2010.

Tal, A., and D. Ariely. “I really want to like it: Motivated liking.” In Advances in Consumer Research, 36:937–39, 2009.

Ratner, R. K., D. Soman, G. Zauberman, D. Ariely, Z. Carmon, P. A. Keller, B. K. Kim, et al. “How behavioral decision research can enhance consumer welfare: From freedom of choice to paternalistic intervention.” In Marketing Letters, 19:383–97, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-008-9044-3. Full Text

Mazar, Nina, and Dan Ariely. “"Probabilistic Discounts: When Retailing and Las Vegas Meet".” In Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, 35:186–87. ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008.

Norton, Michael I., and Dan Ariely. “"The "IKEA Effect": Why Labor Leads to Love".” In Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, 35:153–153. ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008.

Ariely, Dan, Uri Gneezy, and Ernan Haruvy. “"On the Discontinuity of Demand Curves Around Zero: Charging More and Selling More".” In Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 35, edited by A. Y. Lee and D. Soman, 35:38–38. ASSOC CONSUMER RESEARCH, 2008.

Frost, J., M. I. Norton, and D. Ariely. “Virtual dates: Bridging the online and offline dating gap.” In Acm Siggraph 2006 Research Posters, Siggraph 2006, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1145/1179622.1179780. Full Text

Amir, O., D. Ariely, A. Cooke, D. Dunning, N. Epley, U. Gneezy, B. Koszegi, et al. “Psychology, behavioral economics, and public policy.” In Marketing Letters, 16:443–54, 2005. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-005-5904-2. Full Text Open Access Copy

Selected Grants

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

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

SunTrust Foundation research agreement awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2020

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

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

Paternalistic interventions in health care awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

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

Behavioral Lab for Financial Well Being awarded by (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 (Significant Contributor). 2014 to 2017