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Free Beer: Best-Selling Author and Psychologist to Speak at Carleton

February 3, 2012
By Alex Korsunsky '12

Dan Ariely, psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller “Predictably Irrational,” will speak at Carleton College at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9. Entitled “Free Beer: The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, How We Lie To Everyone—Especially Ourselves,” Ariely’s presentation will take place in Olin Hall, Room 141, and is free and open to the public. Copies of Ariely’s popular books will be available for purchase at the event, and in advance at the Carleton Bookstore, at a 15% discount.

An acclaimed bestseller, “Predictably Irrational” (Harper Collins, 2008) makes the case that classical economic theory has a very significant flaw at its core: the assumption that human beings are rational. Using evidence from a wide range of revealing experiments, Ariely challenges this belief, revealing the ways in which emotion, the temptation of a “free” benefit, prior expectation, self-control, and a host of factors can lead us not only act irrationally, but to do so in predictable patterns, consistently making the same “incorrect” choices. Ariely then returns the question to economics, challenging readers to consider the implications of a system that incorrectly assumes rationality as a guiding force.

Ariely’s second book, “The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home” (Harper Collins, 2010), provides a more personal look at the role of irrationality in our lives by exploring psychological quirks such as the IKEA Effect (the reason that pride will tend to give you an inflated sense of the quality of things you make yourself) and the Baby Jessica Effect (why we respond to the suffering of an individual more than the suffering of many). Ariely offers insights into the ways in which we can use and manage our irrationalities to improve the ways we live, work, and govern.

In addition to being a bestselling author, Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. More information about him can be found on Areily's website. In June 2012, Ariely will release his third book, entitled “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves” (Harper Collins, 2012).

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Department of Psychology. For further information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4379, or email The Gould Library Athenaeum is located on the Carleton campus off of College Street, and is also accessible via Highway 19 in Northfield.