• Scientific
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Through his well-thumbed books and popular lectures, behavioral economist Dan Ariely has presented many lessons for understanding human decisions and actions. In this 2019 TED Talk, Ariely reveals more levers behind human behavior. Find out what will and won’t change people’s behavior – and how to get the mechanics just right – in this engaging talk.


Educating people on the error of their ways is futile. To change their behavior, alter their environment.

The knowledge that texting while driving is dangerous, that washing your hands after using the lavatory is hygienic, or that diet and exercise are essential to good health is not enough to improve these behaviors.

Similarly, financial literacy courses have negligible impact on how people spend and save. Why isn’t education enough to effect change? Social science indicates that you must alter the environment, not the individual, to change behavior.

Create the right environment for behavioral change by reducing friction and boosting motivation.

Consider the analogy of launching a rocket. A successful launch requires two elements: minimal friction and maximum fuel. In human behavior, reducing friction means circumventing inertia, the human tendency...

About the Speaker

Dan Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He has written several books, including Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Rationality.

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