Behavioral economist Dan Ariely doesn't buy-into the notion of immutable human rationality, upon which economic study is traditionally based. In fact, he says, we are often predictably irrational. We understand our preferences less well than we imagine; and all-too-frequently our decision-making is manipulated by the way in which alternatives are presented. We know our physical limitations, and we design for them. If we better appreciated the limitations of our cognative abilities, we might redesign our decision-points as well.


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  • Caroline

    This was very interesting. I think everyone needs to take a defensive reading course. It has definitely helped me over the years! :)

  • veronica sanders

    It was/is not only's logical and delivered with intelligent humour and wit which is always a great pull towards staying tuned to the entire presentation. Very well done and lots of food for thought about our decisions and choices.

  • Dr.Kanhaiyalal Sharma

    Our decisions are influenced by many factors. We may or may not aware of them. Whether a decision was rational or irrational is measured on the basis of success. If you meet success your decision was correct and if it meet failure your decision was irrational. No decision is either rational or irrational rather the success determines so.Thanks.


    Just brilliant. Real food for thought. Reminds me of my philosophy classes: the best kind of life is the life informed and considered. Thank you.

  • Marilyn

    Very good explanation of our biases (whether we are aware of them or not!)

  • Page 1

  • Have a burning question about irrational human behavior?  Run it by Professor Ariely and, if it's really interesting, perhaps it'll make it in his weekly WSJ column.
  • Reason isn't the only path. Celebrate irrationality in art, literature, religion, and pop culture.  
  • Where does your decision-making go predictably irrational? Design around the illogic or deliberately embrace it.

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