|Born||April 29, 1967|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||Cognitive Psychology (PhD)|
Business Administration (PhD)
|Alma mater||Duke University|
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tel Aviv University
|Known for||Behavioral Economics|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Doctoral advisor||James Bettman|
John G. Lynch Jr.
Dan Ariely (Hebrew: דן אריאלי; born April 29, 1967) is an Israeli-American professor and author. He serves as a James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. Ariely is the co-founder of several companies implementing insights from behavioral science. Ariely wrote an advice column called Ask Ariely in the WSJ from June 2012 until September 2022. Ariely is the author of the three New York Times best selling books Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty. He co-produced the documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies. Since 2006, Ariely has faced multiple accusations of data fraud and academic misconduct, which have resulted in an academic suspension and a retracted paper.
Dan Ariely was born to Yoram and Dafna Ariely in New York City while his father was studying for an MBA degree at Columbia University. He has two sisters. The family emigrated to Israel when he was three years old. He grew up in Ramat Hasharon and attended Makif Hasharon High School.
In his senior year of high school, Ariely was active in Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, an Israeli youth movement. While he was preparing a ktovet esh (fire inscription) for a traditional nighttime ceremony, the flammable materials he was mixing exploded, causing third-degree burns to over 70 percent of his body. In his writings entitled "Painful Lessons," Ariely described his hospitalization and treatments, detailing how that experience led to his research on "how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients."
Ariely married Sumedha (Sumi) Gupta in 1998.[disputed ] They have two children.
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, graduating in 1991. In 1994 he earned a masters in cognitive psychology, and in 1996 he earned a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ariely completed a second Ph.D. in Business Administration at Duke University in 1998, at the urging of Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Ariely 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. Ariely's laboratory at Duke University, the Center for Advanced Hindsight, pursues research in subjects like the psychology of money, decision making by physicians and patients, cheating, and social justice.
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."
Ariely has co-founded a number of companies. In 2010, Ariely co-founded BEworks, a management consulting firm dedicated to applying behavioral science to business and policy challenges. BEworks was acquired by kyu Collective in January 2017. In 2012, he co-founded Timeful with Yuval Shoham and Jacob Bank, developing a time management app. Timeful was acquired by Google in 2015. He also co-founded the companies Genie (a kitchen appliance for cooking healthy food, 2013), Shapa (health monitoring, 2017), Kayma (behavioral research for the Israeli Ministry of Finance, 2018), and Irrational Capital (quantifying corporate culture for investors, 2018).
In 2015, Ariely invested in and was named chief behavioral economist for Qapital, which develops a personal finance app and collaborates with Ariely on research on consumer saving and spending behavior. In 2016, Ariely was named Chief Behavioral Officer for Lemonade, an insurance company, to integrate aspects of behavioral economics into Lemonade's insurance model.
In 2006, Ariely, at the time a professor at the MIT Media Lab, conducted experiments including electric shocks without the required ethics approval. MIT's Institutional Review Board (IRB) originally granted a human experiment, but afterwards there was a change in the protocol for which a fresh approval was only granted after the experiments had been conducted. MIT's ethics committee banned Ariely from conducting experiments for a year, after which he moved to Duke University. Ariely confirmed that he was suspended from research at MIT and said that he thought the experiments had been approved, and that he did not remember receiving a letter asking additional questions.
In 2010, Ariely told NPR in an interview that data from Delta Dental, an insurance provider, showed that dentists frequently (with a probability of "about 50 percent") misdiagnosed cavities when analyzing X-rays, and speculated that this might happen so that dentists could charge more money. A Delta Dental spokesperson later stated that they do not collect data that could support such a conclusion. Ariely maintained that he was told about the finding by a Delta Dental medical officer whom Ariely did not identify. Ariely had not seen or analyzed any data to back up the claim.
In July 2021, the journal Psychological Science issued an Expression of Concern regarding a 2004 paper by James Heyman and Dan Ariely, "prompted by some uncertainty regarding the values of statistical tests reported in the article and the analytic approach taken to the data". The authors were unable to resolve the ambiguities because the original participant-level data was no longer available. A follow-up analysis, and a letter to the editor by Gregory Francis from the Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University demonstrated that the problem in the paper could be a simple reporting error in which t-statistics were reported as F-statistics by mistake. Francis also showed that this error does not negate the findings in the original article.
In August 2021, data from a field study in a 2012 PNAS paper by Lisa L. Shu, Nina Mazar, Francesca Gino, Dan Ariely, and Max H. Bazerman was reanalyzed on the blog Data Colada. The blog post claimed that the study data was fabricated. All of the 2012 study's authors agreed with this assessment and the paper was retracted. The study's authors also agreed that Dan Ariely was the only author to have had access to the data prior to transmitting it in its fraudulent form to Nina Mazar, the analyst. Dan Ariely denied manipulating the data prior to forwarding it on to Mazar but Excel metadata showed that he created the spreadsheet and was the last to edit it. He also admitted to having mislabeled all of the values in an entire column of the data in e-mail communication with Mazar that took place shortly after he initially sent her the data.
Dan Ariely has suggested that the data for the paper's experiments must have been fabricated by someone at The Hartford, the insurance company that provided it. In a July 2023 episode covering the allegations of misconduct, NPR's Planet Money reported that The Hartford had provided a statement alleging substantial differences between the original dataset they sent to Ariely in May 2008 and the data published by Ariely and colleagues. The company said it found "significant changes made to the size, shape and characteristics of our data after we provided it and without our knowledge or consent." For example, the statement said that the provided dataset contained 6,033 vehicles, while the published dataset contained 20,741. The company said that on the dataset it had provided, there was no "statistically significant difference between those who signed forms at the beginning and those who signed forms at the end", and noted that the published dataset used two different fonts, with data in Calibri font being tied to their data while data in Cambria font "appears to have been synthesized or fabricated". Planet Money included a response by Ariely that "I got the data file from the insurance company in about 2007, and I can't tell now who had access to it. Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data."
In November 2022, a TV investigation show Hamakor (Channel 13) aired an episode questioning a number of Ariely's studies that were not reproducible or for which there are significant doubts about their reliability - the way they were carried out, the data that were collected or whether they were carried out at all. For example, Ariely claimed that data for his "Ten Commandments" study (Amir, Mazar, and Ariely, 2008) was collected in 2004-5 at UCLA with the assistance of Professor Aimee Drolet Rossi. However, Drolet Rossi claims that she does not recall that she or her research assistants ran the study as the authors described and she subsequently posted her 2021 email exchanges on the subject. She also claimed in the email exchange that the study described in the paper could not have been run by her or her colleagues at UCLA because the protocol described in the study was inconsistent with the data collection methods used at UCLA by Drolet Rossi and her UCLA colleagues at the time.
Ariely is the author of several popular science books about irrationality, dishonesty, and decision making. His first book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, was published in 2008 and discusses a number of systematic mistakes people commit, mostly in financial decision. Examples include overlooking downsides of "free" offers, framing effects, the problems of procrastination and self-control, and the endowment effect. In The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (2010), Ariely discusses the effects of irrationality on the workplace and personal life. Other books include Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves.
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As I said two years ago, I was responsible for relationship with the insurance company that provided the data for the paper. I got the data file from the insurance company in about 2007 and I can't tell now who had access to it. Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data.