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The Problem of Self Control

Dan Ariely

Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around?
From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate.

One of the challenges of human life is that what is good for us right now is often not what is good for us in the long term and the other way around: Dieting for example is not so much fun now, but good for the future, saving is not fun now but good for the future…. When we face such tradeoffs we often focus on the short term rather than our long terms goals and in the process get ourselves into trouble. But wait!  There is hope. Our misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational. By understanding where we fall short, there are methods we can use to overcome our natural (and less than desirable) inclinations.

Dan Ariely is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, a three-time New York Times bestselling author and renowned TED speaker. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, co-creator of the film documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies. His books include Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and Irrationally Yours. His next book, Payoff, will be published in November 2016. In 2013, Bloomberg recognized Dan as one of Top 50 Most Influential thinkers. He also has a bi-weekly advice column in the Wall Street Journal called “Ask Ariely.”

Lustrum SGG

This autumn, Studium Generale Groningen exists 70 years. We celebrate this anniversary with several special events.
 

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