Dan Ariely Professor of Psychology and Behavioral EconomicsDuke University; Founder, Center for Advanced Hindsight
Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist whose work shows that humans consistently make the same bad decisions again and again. This concept of the “predictably irrational” in decision making has governed Ariely’s research into all manner of human behavior. In areas as diverse as economics, politics, and medicine, he shows that—despite all our best efforts and intentions—we struggle with making rational decisions. Ariely is known for performing small experiments that uncover an aspect of human irrationality. He has shown, for example, the lengths people will go to get something for free, how emotions can affect decisions, and the endowment effect. “We must challenge our assumptions about how humans behave,” Ariely says, explaining that “we have very strong intuitions about all kinds of things—our own ability, how the economy works, how we should pay school teachers. But unless we start testing those intuitions, we’re not going to do better."