Being Irrationally Funny as a Cognitive Psychologist

Dan Ariely, Beatrice Popescu


The idea of interviewing Dan Ariely was somehow latent on my mind since I started being interested in cognitive psychology and cognitive behavior psychotherapy, but actually got more ardent ever since irrationality became a research topic for his team at Duke University. I picked him as an interviewee thinking not only at his exceptional skills as a researcher and as Kahnemann ‘disciple’, but mainly for his fantastic wit, true modesty and utmost interest in making people’s lives easier and more comfortable, by creating awareness on a lot of topics otherwise neglected. Dan Ariely’s very agreeable personality and humor would not let you think of him as a burnt casualty who, in his youth struggled to survive a personal drama, so well-documented in his paper “Painful lessons” posted on the MIT website ( I think reading his paper and also this transcribed interview with him would be also comforting for people who found out about Bucharest fire incident that rocked our society and also for people who are personally related to this tragedy.


cognitive psychology; irrational behavior; behavioral economics; trauma; resiliency

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