The Irrational: Dan Ariely On The Mechanics of Misbelief

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The funnel of misbelief represents our attempt to grasp control. My personal journey of investigation and understanding was also a quest for control, but was grounded in the belief that I am not a victim – Dan Ariely

In this episode, renowned social scientist Dan Ariely discusses the irrational pull of misinformation and how to understand the conduct of “misbelief” — the psychological and social path that guides individuals to doubt established truths, consider alternative facts, and perhaps even welcome outright conspiracy theories.

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is dedicated to answering questions to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, co-creator of the film documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies, and a three-time New York Times bestselling author. His books include Predictably Irrational, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Irrationally Yours, Payoff Dollars and Sense and Misbelief.   

Talking points we cover include …

  • The origin story of Dan’s distinctive half-beard.
  • Behavioral insights into self-acceptance. 
  • Covid misinformation and his attacks on social media and in public 
  • Exploration and reasoning behind irrational behavior and beliefs.
  • Identifying false comprehension.
  • How do we know why we believe what we believe?
  • On belief creation and alteration.
  • Understanding why people are attracted to heterodoxy and discussing the negative consequences of rejecting and ostracizing people with non-mainstream beliefs.
  • Shibboleth in communication: signaling identity rather than the pursuit of truth.
  • Behavioral science on task motivation



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