Having demolished the belief that most people are rational in his last two books, Duke researcher Dan Ariely puts to death the concept that "most people are honest" in his newest book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves.
In difficult economic times, it’s tempting, even logical, to watch your purchases carefully. Most people recognize the need to keep up external appearances for, say, a job interview or an important sales call, they may cut back in areas less visible to others by buying generic products instead of brand names. While that seems like a sensible strategy – for example, the hiring executive may notice the Hickey Freeman suit, but won’t know about the no-name socks – skimping on accessories could cost you far more than you saved. Research shows that our self-image is affected by the products that we use, even when they are seemingly inconsequential. […]
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely does a great job of demolishing the idea that people make decisions in a rational manner. Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke, describes dozens of experiments that show how we procrastinate, when we cheat, how we interpret prices (definitely a neuromarketing hot button), and much more. Ariely’s work is fascinating at least in part because of the simplicity of most of his experiments. Instead of using multi-million dollar fMRI machines, Ariely’s work tends to involve a simple concept, a few props, and willing subjects (always plentiful on college campuses). The simplicity is deceptive, though, because the results demonstrate the complexity of the brain’s decision-making process. […]