Video from a Live Talks Business Forum held in Los Angeles on June 14.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely — with his game-changing New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality – established himself as the go-to authority when it comes to understanding how irrational behavior shapes every part of our lives in surprisingly predictable ways. (See his TED Talk in 2011)
His research into better decision-making has shown him that from healthcare to the stock market, our instincts often lead us astray. What is the best way for doctors to minimize a patient’s pain? How do bonuses affect CEO performance? Ariely’s experiments into human behavior reveal answers that are always surprising and insightful.
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, The Medical School, and the Department of Economics. Ariely’s work has been featured widely in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Boston Globe among others. He is a regular contributor to Marketplace on public radio and has also made numerous appearances on CNN, CBS, and NPR.
Ariely has long been fascinated with dishonesty and cheating, and now he explores these timely topics in his latest book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves. With his unique blend of intellectual curiosity, groundbreaking research, and down-to-earth appeal, Ariely investigates why we cheat, what causes our dishonest behavior, and how we can curb and limit it.
As he points out, cheaters are everywhere and constantly in the headlines, whether it’s the politician embroiled in an extramarital affair, the superstar athlete testing positive for banned performance enhancers, or the Ponzi schemer busted for stealing billions. In fact, from rounding up billable hours, recommending unnecessary medical treatments, and charging hidden fees, to defaulting on mortgages, claiming higher losses on insurance, and fudging golf scores, many businesses and individuals will cheat when the opportunity arises.
According to Ariely, the rational forces that we think drive our dishonest behavior don’t, and the irrational forces that we think don’t drive our dishonest behavior often do. Drawing from a wide-ranging series of experiments and his own insightful observations, Ariely discovers that, despite popular belief, dishonesty is not often an outcome of a deliberate cost–benefit analysis. Instead, we are likely to be guided away from honesty by hidden influences such as conflicts of interest, depletion, creativity, witnessing the dishonest acts of others, caring about our colleagues, and revenge.
Joanna Pearlstein is Wired magazine’s senior editor for research. She manages the publication’s fact-checking department and edits the Re:Wired and Release Notes sections. She oversees Wired’s fact-checking process, coordinates research resources, and works closely with the company’s corporate counsel on the legal review of stories. Before joining Wired in 2003, Pearlstein was news editor and editorial research manager at Red Herring magazine. She’s been covering the technology industry for nearly two decades. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Oakland Tribune, and Macworld.