A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior

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A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior

Course Details

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FREE

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Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

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Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4807 reviews

Course Description

This course will draw heavily on my own research, and pulls largely from my three books: [Predictably Irrational](http://www.amazon.com/Predictably- Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Edition/dp/0061353248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=13610 31703&sr=8-1&keywords=dan+ariely) (2008), [The Upside of Irrationality](http://www.amazon.com/The-Upside-Irrationality-Unexpected- Benefits/dp/0061995045/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1361031759&sr=8-6) (2010), and [The Honest Truth About Dishonesty](http://www.amazon.com/Honest- Truth-About-Dishonesty-Everyone---Especially/dp/0062183591/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8& qid=1361031810&sr=8-3&keywords=dan+ariely) (2012). We will examine topics such as our “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perception, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by honest people, how social and financial incentives work together (or against each other) in labor, how self-... This course will draw heavily on my own research, and pulls largely from my three books: [Predictably Irrational](http://www.amazon.com/Predictably- Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Edition/dp/0061353248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=13610 31703&sr=8-1&keywords=dan+ariely) (2008), [The Upside of Irrationality](http://www.amazon.com/The-Upside-Irrationality-Unexpected- Benefits/dp/0061995045/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1361031759&sr=8-6) (2010), and [The Honest Truth About Dishonesty](http://www.amazon.com/Honest- Truth-About-Dishonesty-Everyone---Especially/dp/0062183591/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8& qid=1361031810&sr=8-3&keywords=dan+ariely) (2012). We will examine topics such as our “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perception, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by honest people, how social and financial incentives work together (or against each other) in labor, how self-control comes into play with decision making, and how emotion (rather than cognition) can have a large impact on economic decisions. This highly interdisciplinary course will be relevant to all human beings. **The goals of this class:** 1. Introduce you to the range of cases where people (consumers, investors, managers, friends, significant others, and even you) might make decisions that are inconsistent with standard economic theory and the assumptions of rational decision making. This is the lens of behavioral economics. 2. Help you think creatively about the applications of behavioral economics to the development of new products, technologies and public policy, and to understand how business and social policy strategies could be modified with a deeper understanding of the effects these principles have on all of us.
Reviews 10/10 stars
373 Reviews for A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior

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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Great course, very interesting. I had prior knowledge of the field, through academic course as well as the reading of Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
I've 0 experience in irrational behavior but I've heard about behavioral finance subject. This class is one of the best in MOOC as the teacher visibily seems involves with office hours every end of week, when I took it Spring 2014. I actually signed up late, thus, my intention is to repeat the class where I will be seriously committed, when Ariely's offering it again. Love the subjects, Dan Ariely's quirky humors, and the topic as well as the structure. Many readings, and medium videos (>10 minutes - 25 minutes).
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Greg OConnell profile image
Greg OConnell profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
Hi, I am an Australian engineer with several decades of engineering work experience. I don't have any formal background in economics or psychology. I had read one of Dan Ariely's books prior to the course and read quite a few behavioral science "short articles in the last 5 years. This was my first MOOC. I found Dan Ariely to be a very persuasive and engaging speaker and a great introduction to behavioral economics. I found the course guidelines on workload understated the workload. I was aiming for the Statement of Completion with distinction, which is the "highest" workload path. There is a pre-course week and I spent an average of 11 hours/week to cover the required material (lectures, quizes, reading, videos). It took me another 9 hours/week average to cover off work involved in the additional 2 written assignments revision and exam for the distinction path. I never did get to read the optional material. On reflection, I probably... Hi, I am an Australian engineer with several decades of engineering work experience. I don't have any formal background in economics or psychology. I had read one of Dan Ariely's books prior to the course and read quite a few behavioral science "short articles in the last 5 years. This was my first MOOC. I found Dan Ariely to be a very persuasive and engaging speaker and a great introduction to behavioral economics. I found the course guidelines on workload understated the workload. I was aiming for the Statement of Completion with distinction, which is the "highest" workload path. There is a pre-course week and I spent an average of 11 hours/week to cover the required material (lectures, quizes, reading, videos). It took me another 9 hours/week average to cover off work involved in the additional 2 written assignments revision and exam for the distinction path. I never did get to read the optional material. On reflection, I probably spent more time than necessary coming up to speed with research writing techniques and experiment design to support the two written assignments. I have learned an extraordinary amount and I value that learning. The Coursera MOOC course works very well. Dan and Aline provide great seed material to kick off classes and support students. The Community TA's work very well. There were no technical glitches accessing material from Australia. I recommend this course to all- just allocate enough time to cover it at the level that suits your objectives.
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Muntaser Ibrahim profile image
Muntaser Ibrahim profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
This is not my first MOOC, nor will it be my last. I think this gives my review some needed credibility in assessing how good this course was. First of all, Dan Ariely, along with Prof. Micheal S. Roth, are the best lecturers I have came to meet through my MOOC journey. They're both great speakers, full of enthusiasm towards the subject which they're dealing with and finally they both talk about subjects that are extremely interesting. The material itself is engaging and fun to watch, from the animated illustrations to the depictions of experiments that Dan and his colleagues acted out. Everything about the material was top notch. To conclude, it's a great course. I recommend it to everybody who wants to learn more about how irrational we can be. It is well worth your time.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
This is the first MOOC that I have participated in. I had no prior experience in this subject, but the videos were really accessible and fun and so lack of previous knowledge did not hinder my progress. I found the course fascinating and it genuinely has had a huge impact on my life as I now have more awareness and understanding of why I do what I do (and also why others do what they do!) and I can apply the knowledge I have gained to improve my circumstances. I highly recommend this course.
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Soham Daptardar profile image
Soham Daptardar profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years ago
Great professor. Great course. Limited prior experience before this in psychology. I loved Prof. Ariely's example and explanations. This course is a bit hard compared to other MOOC's on Coursera, but it's well worth the effort. I would highly recommend anyone with even a little interest in psychology and human behavior to take this course.
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Marjan Ček profile image
Marjan Ček profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 20 reviews
  • 17 completed
6 years ago
Disclaimer: I just watched the videos and did the surveys The course is a great introduction to irrational and biased behaviour. The videos are very engaging, and even though sometimes a bit repetitive they give a lot of information in a very digestible way. I recommend it to people from any background wanting to understand human biases in order to make more rational decisions.
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Student

7/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Wish the speakers had spoken slower and more distinctly. Old brains need more time to process sound.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Amazing Course!!! Everyone should take it! Applicable to life, fun, and exciting!!! I have had pure pleasure from this course
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Njål Andersen profile image
Njål Andersen profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
6 years ago
Great course. Had read the books, but easy to follow lectures and motivating quizzes. Ariely also pushes the envelope with regards to using the coursera platform
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
It was an Excellent course both from the perspective of content and presentation. The course will reveal flaws in basic human intuitions and will likely change the way You view the world. Thus it should be interesting for a broad audience. Additionally it provdies You with some basic mechanisms how to compensate for those flaws and links You with a lot of related research. In fact I have joined twitter specifically to follow the latest research in Professors Ariely group in general and Behavioural Economy in particular. The Lecturer made an effort to present the material in a light weight and entertaining way, yet provided lot additional material in forms of readings, recommended readings, guest lectures for people interested in more in depth study. The office hours very used well to react on student opinions and provided a connection of the discussed principles to daily life problems (office hours from the last Year were also provid... It was an Excellent course both from the perspective of content and presentation. The course will reveal flaws in basic human intuitions and will likely change the way You view the world. Thus it should be interesting for a broad audience. Additionally it provdies You with some basic mechanisms how to compensate for those flaws and links You with a lot of related research. In fact I have joined twitter specifically to follow the latest research in Professors Ariely group in general and Behavioural Economy in particular. The Lecturer made an effort to present the material in a light weight and entertaining way, yet provided lot additional material in forms of readings, recommended readings, guest lectures for people interested in more in depth study. The office hours very used well to react on student opinions and provided a connection of the discussed principles to daily life problems (office hours from the last Year were also provided). The student community was very nice and active, both in the discussions groups and Facebook page of the group. The course also comes with a distinction track, in which students can propose a solution to a problem and design an experiment, both of which are peer reviewed. I haven't participated in the distinction track but I believe it would be very rewarding, albeit also quite time consuming.
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Ilan Aisic profile image
Ilan Aisic profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years ago
This is one of the best and most interesting courses that I have ever taken! In addition to being interesting and enriching, it was definitely a fun course to take.
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Rihabb Ayedd profile image
Rihabb Ayedd profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
I was not very knowledgeable about Irrational Behavior especially related to economics. This course is so funny, and interesting, it is the course with the quote "learn with pleasure". There has been a long time I wasn't bored in a course. Usually professors are talking and explaining things, and that is nice of them, but you are about to sleep while they are talking, especially if it is a virtual course. With this course, it was far to be the case. I liked the mood of the course, the respect that the professor show to his virtual students, by explaining things, by not annoying us. It is an intelligent way to present courses. I liked the quizzes during the lecture. I would be pleasured to repeat this course the next year.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Greate, it is really interesting and helpful. Easy to understand, but challenges for distinction certification
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Andrés Lagerlöf profile image
Andrés Lagerlöf profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
I think that the course was great! I'm very interested in the topic and the lectures were funny and engaging to watch. For everyone that has an interest in decision making and the human way of acting, I would absolutely recommend this course. I have attended about a dozen courser courses and this one ranks among the very best.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Had some background in this area from psychiatry and from having read some of Professor Ariely's popular books. The course was exceptional from a pedagogical point of view. The lectures were short, professionally filmed with good production values, clear, and entertaining. Although I only watched videos and did not engage much in the fora, I almost felt a personal connection to Professor Ariely. The course's structure favours acquisition of the material. What you will learn in this course is applicable to many situations in a human's life. Take the course! You will not regret it.
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Jennifer Cruz profile image
Jennifer Cruz profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
Overall the course is awesome and just fun to take. It helps you to understand more of your own behavior, what kind of tricks you can use to motivate yourself (and others, might be team members, family, friends, etc.) and keep you going or to spend your money more "rationally" or to reflect on how you see sex and much more... and of course, it also gives you a lot of information to understand others and get the best out of them. * 3 to 4 hours (maybe less) is just the time you need to keep on track but it's a lot more profitable if you can get an extra couple of hours to engage in additional (optional) content and spaces (like forums). ** The course is AWESOME!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
This class was just wonderful. I use Coursera for personal interest and enrichment, and the design of the classes could not be better for my purposes. Prof. Ariely has warmth, honesty, enthusiasm, and basic humility which make him endearing to watch and learn from. I am telling everyone I know about the value of this class.
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Linda Clover profile image
Linda Clover profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
6 years ago
I am currently auditing 4 courses and A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior is the one I more look forward to. I will miss it when it's over -- for sure! My academic background is in behavioral studies and since I've retired, have continued to enhance my knowledge in this area. Dan's experiments and studies seem right on-target! I wish everyone could have the benefit of taking this course and have been mentioning it on my FaceBook page and imagine that my friends are a little tired of hearing about it. This course compares quite favorably with other courses I've taken --- the Corsera classes are the best I've taken (it's been years since I was in a college classroom). But Dan's classes seem to have it all; stories, experiments, humor, the human touch, you get to know him as an individual, there are graphics, lots of photos and illustrations, interesting guests. I did not do the reading, write papers, participate on fora, or take ... I am currently auditing 4 courses and A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior is the one I more look forward to. I will miss it when it's over -- for sure! My academic background is in behavioral studies and since I've retired, have continued to enhance my knowledge in this area. Dan's experiments and studies seem right on-target! I wish everyone could have the benefit of taking this course and have been mentioning it on my FaceBook page and imagine that my friends are a little tired of hearing about it. This course compares quite favorably with other courses I've taken --- the Corsera classes are the best I've taken (it's been years since I was in a college classroom). But Dan's classes seem to have it all; stories, experiments, humor, the human touch, you get to know him as an individual, there are graphics, lots of photos and illustrations, interesting guests. I did not do the reading, write papers, participate on fora, or take exams. However, I plan to try to clear the decks next time this course is offered and try to take it in it's entirety simply because I believe that it will be that enriching, personally. It I do it, I imagine I will spend 8-12+ hours a week on it, but I tend to read somewhat methodically, and the same with writing. Others might not need that much time. Many thanks to Dan and his assistants for an incredible experience and lots of good learning I can use!!!!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Fascinating course - great depth in the reading if you choose to follow it up. Ariely is an engaging character and each week there are 2 guest lecturers to add a further dimension to the subject.
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Darek Kapica profile image
Darek Kapica profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
As I think "A beginner's guide to irrational behavior" is a pure example of what an excellent MOOC should look like. A very good piece of work, enjoyable, deep insight and thought-provoking. Highly recommended !
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Willis Kanaley profile image
Willis Kanaley profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
Prof. Ariely is a skilled and clever presenter. The video lectures are some of the best I have seen of several courses I have taken on Coursera. I did the required extra reading but did not do the suggested extra reading because it was way more than I was prepared to do. For the same reason I did not do the written assignments required for a certificate with distinction. The course is well designed and provided a number of interesting and useful insights. If you do all the work, which was more than I expected, you will gain a lot. Well done!
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
I've read some of Dan Ariely's books as well as other behavioural economics books, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was easily accessible and the lectures were fascinating and engaging. I found the readings too complex - many were academic papers, so I stopped reading those as it took up too much of my time. That said this has been without a doubt the best Coursera course I've taken out of the 6 or so I've done.
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Fernando Gomez profile image
Fernando Gomez profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
Why do you procrastinate? Why do we lie? How to get more productivity by paying less? If you want the answer to any of the questions above and much more about our irrational tendencies this is the course to take! This course does a great job of taking everday questions we think about and answering them in easily digestible chunks backed with scientific research and evidence. There is plenty of reading, videos and extra material to read! Would recommend! and I plan on taking this course again in the near future , it was so darn good.
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Alina Pantazi profile image
Alina Pantazi profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
Thank you so much for your great course! Although I knew from the beginning I would not be able to engage like I wanted to, due to a lot of extra work that emerged in some way for me, I appreciate all the effort and outcome. I saw all videos although I did not quite made it with the dates for the second test, so I was excluded from any certificate. The basic knowledge was still there for me, for free! :) Thank you Mr. Dan Ariely and all your collegues! I might attend it once more in the future!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Dan Ariely is awesome! I loved this class -- so well run and I learned a lot about an area with which I was previously unfamiliar.
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Frayda Glass profile image
Frayda Glass profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years ago
Having very little experience studying Economics or Psychology, but being required by a friend who had taken Dan's course, I signed up for A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior. What a ride! The organization and presentation of the course materials were wonderful. My study was boosted everyday by the types and variations in the way Dan presented his courseware. He uses many techniques to keep his students connected and related to the materials. The course itself is astonishing in many ways, and more than once I couldn't believe the results of the experiments Dan shared with us. I cannot recommend this course enough, and I love my friend for insisting that I take it.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
I didn't expect an online course to change the way I think, but this course was that good. The video lectures are engaging, because Ariely is a dynamic speaker who's clearly passionate about behavioral economics and then on top of that silly cartoons, graphics and photos make the videos stand out among the MOOC crowd of talking heads with powerpoint. The lectures also fleshed out complex concepts and invited you to read more. I didn't expect to do any of the reading, which was for a certificate of distinction, but I ended up reading most of it and taking the reading quizzes. Ariely also provided a lot of extra videos and quizzes. I'm now a participant in Ariely's research app. Ariely successfully harnessed my irrational side and I feel a sense of debt and gratitude to a person I've never met or even engaged with online.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Valuable, but it would help if you are good at English. Famous professor, useful material. Probably the best MOOC I ever took.
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Pat Shaw profile image
Pat Shaw profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
6 years ago
First of all I am not a college student I am a retired senior but there was no option for that choice. This is my 6th Coursera class and I enjoyed Prof, Dan Ariley very much. I looked forward to his lectures and his humor. During my working career I was in financial services for 25 years and felt that the information and experiments were interesting and very spot on. I am not going for a degree but enjoy life-long learning and have recommended this course and other Coursera classes to my friends. My one suggestion is that you have a category for self-identification that includes seniors - non-students. There are many of us out here. Thank you for a most enjoyable and enlightening class. I have just started reading Freakonomics and it begins with the Day- care center experiments in Israel.
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