How to change your behavior for the better

Dan Ariely
TED, 2019
Level: beginner
Perspective: Behavioral Economics
Topic: Behavior, finance, financialization, microeconomcis, money & debt
Format: Short Presentation
Duration: 00:15:13
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPBFVIxnbDw

Despite best intentions, people make decisions that are not ideal for them. What to do about this? In his TED Talk, the behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains that simply giving information to people is not a good recipe to change behavior. He explains why you have to change the environment if you want to change people's behavior. Dan Ariely suggests thinking about behavioral change in the same way as sending a rocket to space: Before takeoff, you'd want to do two things:

  1. You want to reduce friction so that the rocket is as aerodynamic as possible.
  2. You want to load as much fuel as possible.

In his Ted Talk, he discusses these two points with respect to behavioral change.


Comment from our editors:

The video, in our opinion, is a short, limited but useful introduction to behavioural economics/behavioural science. The comparison between human behaviour and sending a rocket to space is not so clear and there is a fundamental lack of structure. The two real-world examples are interesting but, at the same time, are not analysed from the perspective of behavioural theory. The concept that is best explained is that of 'loss aversion'. You can find out more about other elements of Behavioural Economics in our foundational text here.


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