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Predictably Irrational — Or, the Crazy Things People Predictably Do


Money in Hand

Predictably Irrational

Dan Ariely is writing (or has written) a book called “Predictably Irrational—The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions”, based on his research and others, that describes the behaviour of people under different circumstances that seems to go against their self–interests. Chris Yeh created an excellent book outline describing the contents. Some of the interesting finds:

  • People might not buy a particular item on its own, but if there is a much more expensive item available, the first then looks like a bargain and will sell more
  • People would drive 15 minutes to save $7 on a $25 pen, but not to save $7 on a $455 suit
  • People are more likely to go for a free offer, even if they could get a better item for a great price
  • People will do things for free that they would never do for a small salary
  • Being aroused will make people do things they would not otherwise consider
  • External controls on our lives actually make us perform better than self–imposed ones, which allow us to procrastinate
  • People irrationally try to keep as many options open as possible, even if they know that is detrimental
  • People think food in nice containers or a nice environment tastes better than the same food in a bland surrounding
  • A well–known brand can make a product taste better than blind taste–tests would suggest
  • People report better results from an expensive drug than from the same drug priced much lower
  • The simple contemplation of a moral code will drastically reduce cheating or dishonesty
  • People can rationalize stealing objects, but not as easily stealing money
  • People will order food to appear unique (or not unique, depending on culture), even if that item isn’t really what they want


December 25, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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