Emily's Reviews > Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
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's review
Oct 25, 2012

it was ok

This was just ok. It was mostly him reiterating his experiments that he performed involving largely college students. As an aside: why, oh why, do these people never involve any adults in their studies? I understand that being academics, college students are easy access but seriously, like college students hold they key to all human understanding? As if they may not act differently or believe differently when they become adults?
With that being said, most of his "research" was largely correlational, not causational. There truly was very little statistical support for the conclusions that were drawn. Moreover, the experiments as he described them controlled very poorly for confounding variables. Such as, the money in the fridge experiment to support his hypothesis that people are more likely to be dishonest when an object is involved as opposed to paper (or coin) currency. He put a six pack of coke in the fridge, then a plate of money in the fridge and concluded that his hypothesis was correct because people took the drinks but not the money. I don't know about you, but if I opened the fridge and saw a plate of money, I wouldn't touch it because my first thought would be "why in the hell is there a plate of money in the fridge" and my next would be that it was rigged (or put there as an experiment). Perhaps if he had placed it on the counter, or on a side table somewhere, he may have had different results. However, that still would not prove his theory. Again, you've got correlation at best.
I also found myself a bit bored at times. He seemed to repeat himself ad nauseum, so all in all, there was very little insight to be gleamed from this book.
My final thought in finishing the book was "he gets paid for this?"

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