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What Controls Your Decisions May Shock You (Part 1)

Many people assume that willpower is the key to making meaningful changes in their lives. Decision-making and behavioral economics expert Dan Ariely suggests that’s not enough. Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He joins Dr. Phil to give listeners a new perspective on life’s most challenging problems and the key to programming ourselves for success.


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  • Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

  • He does research in behavioral economics on the irrational ways people behave, described in plain language.

  • His immersive introduction to irrationality took place as he overcame injuries sustained in an explosion.

  • During a range of treatments in the burn department he faced a variety of irrational behaviors that were immensely painful and persistent.

  • He began researching ways to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients.

  • Ariely 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.

  • After using his knowledge of decision-making and behavioral economics to convince his girlfriend to marry him, Ariely realized that understanding decision-making can help anyone in their daily life.

  • Irrationally Yours, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, the movie Dishonesty and the card game Irrational Game are his attempt to describe his research findings in non-academic terms, so that more people will discover the excitement of behavioral economics and use some of the insights to enrich their own lives.


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