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A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior

Duke University via Coursera

students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Psychology
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Finished
  • Language English
  • Certificate Certificate Available
  • Effort 7-11 hours a week
  • Start Date

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Overview

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This course will draw heavily on my own research, and pulls largely from my three books: Predictably Irrational (2008), The Upside of Irrationality (2010), and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty (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.

Syllabus

There are two tracks that you can take to receive a Statement of Accomplishment for this course. For each track, you will need to earn a grade of 85% or above, but your path toward that grade will be different under each track.

Normal
50% Lecture Quizzes
50% Final Exam

Distinction
 20% Reading Quizzes
 20% Lecture Quizzes
 30% Final Exam
 15% "Solve a Problem" Writing Assignment
 15% "Design an Experiment" Writing Assignment

Taught by

Dan Ariely

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Reviews for Coursera's A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior
4.9 Based on 553 reviews

  • 5 stars 95%
  • 4 stars 4%
  • 3 stars 1%
  • 2 star 0%
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  • 1
Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Unfortunately, this course was removed permanently from Coursera. I don't know the reason, but it is not on the list anymore.

I hope it will be repeated, but I doubt... :(
20 people found
this review helpful
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Ramnath R
5.0 4 years ago
by Ramnath completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I am a student interested in the field of humanities and took this course during my free time and I have to say it was one of the most rewarding experiences. The course is well-structured and planned- no hiccups on that front. All the course materials are relevant, thorough and interesting with real life illustrations and applications. The course instructor Dan Ariely needs no introduction and is one of the most promiment authorities in the field of behavioural economics. Though this course is founded on economic principles, it is very much related to fields such as psychology and human behavi…
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
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 mater…
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
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.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I love this course. I learned a lot of new and amazing things in the course. The video lectures were of great quality. I found it very easy to follow the video lectures. The professor made them amazingly simple and easy to understand even for a person who is not good at English like me. But it was very hard for me when it came to reading. There were a lot of required reading materials and they were too academic for me. :) The writing assignment was evaluated by 3 peers and was worth 1/3 of the final grade. That seemed to be a problem for some students as they suffered from unfair grading. But that could be changed in the future as students have made many suggestions to improve it.
0 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Olena completed this course.
This course is the most entertaining of all coursera courses I've taken. The lectures are brilliant -- full of jokes, animation, and funny examples. My favorite one is Eve's (Adam&Eve) problem with self-control. "

Q.: Would you sacrifice eternity for an apple in the Garden of Eden?

A: Depends on how hungry you are" :))

This course explores consumer's psychology in non-traditional way. Thanks to in-video real time surveys I discovered that l'm as irrational as it gets and so are most of my classmates :) and started inventing motivational tr…
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Adelyne C
5.0 4 years ago
by Adelyne completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I loved this course, the various topics selected for discussion were interesting and Prof Ariely has a very humorous way of keeping the audience engaged and interested. There is also a distinction track for those interested to take part in more activities such as the writing exercise and reading assignments, and also a normal track for those who just wish to follow the course. Highly recommended!
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
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 pat…
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Very well-organized course. I enjoyed it very much.
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
behavioural psychology has always been a subject of my interest but this was for the first time I have pursued it to this level of depth. This course if one of the bestest courses I have ever ever taken. I am not only in love with this subject but I love the whole team that has worked to make it fun to learn and comprehend the more challenging aspects. I loved the animations, the involvement of the team to break the monotony, the creative cartoonings, the content, delivery, Dan, his jokes, his kids, the change of settings, the readings, procrastination alerts ...pretty much everything. One thi…
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
B completed this course.
A brilliant course. More needed from the same. Prof
0 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
hat is more important for human being than understanding causes of his own actions as well as others? This class hopefully make you aware of probable reasons of someone irrational behavior and you'll be less stressed about it.

The quality is extraordinary. Dan is one of the best teachers I've ever had. Videos consists of Dan explanations and lots of figures and even cartoons. The team put a lot of work into preparing materials and making things easy to understand.

As the Dan's explanations are straightforward and colorful there is a quite high bar for passing the cour…
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Great course, great 1st experience with an online course.

Recommended for anyone interested in the material. Accessible to high school level students and beyond.

Prof did a good job of presenting the material, providing extras, and giving opportunities to feel involved (tough trick for a MOCC)

Summary

My background - read 2 of prof's books already; engineering background (so reading research papers wasn't new or challenging)

Readings - interesting and mostly very accessible (I have a science background, so research papers are eas…
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Anonymous
3.0 5 years ago
Bart completed this course.
I read one of his books a while ago and was a little bit put off by the tone in which he preached his knowledge. This course is even worse for me. I am questioning his research from a statistical perspective, but my main gripe is more of a subjective nature. It is the way Dan Ariely presents himself and his ideas. Good science is not a popularity contest. I guess if you like his style as a platform for presenting ideas, than you'd have less difficulty finishing the course than I do.

As far as the content goes, the way Dan Ariely blatantly presents most of his inferences and conclu…
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The standard certificate is super-easy to get in terms of time and difficulty: you need to watch less than 1h of videos and answer 15 easy questions per week (you can repeat the quizzes up to 15 times!) and an easy final exam of 2 parts of 30 questions. The distinction certificate is also easy to get but much more time consuming: same workload than regular certificate plus ~5 papers to read per week (10 questions about the papers) plus 2 written assignments (+ grade 5 other people's text per assignment).

In general is pretty easy but you need to be up to date. The due dates for the quizzes and assignments are strict and you need, at least, an 85% of points to get the certificate. That means that if you missed the due date for one quizz you really have a narrow error margin left. Provably the only thing I would change from the course it would be to ask more conceptually difficult questions and leave more margin to answer the quizzes.
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The course was magnificent , the teacher very very good , and also the staff . Compared to other courses is superior because it provides a lot of material on the subject and makes greater use of films, drawings , diagrams and excellent slides . Many excellent opportunities to explore the topic ( I personally buy the latest book by Dan ) . Very useful and beautiful external interviews , the " Special Guest " and also " Office Hours" that have only a few courses and not so well. Dan Ariely has done a great job and I think his commitment , as well as that of the staff, it was huge and it seems to me just thank him only in this way [the only other form that came to mind was to join the his initiative on Kickstarter Campaign for ( Dis ) Honesty : The Truth About Lies https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1501481976/dishonesty-a-documentary-feature-film and invite all those who appreciated his commitment to do so ]
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I took this course in Spring 2013 and was disappointed that I didn't score highly enough to earn a certificate then. (I was just a point or two away from it!) I was determined to get the certificate the next time it was offered, which was this spring, and I went for the simpler certificate as opposed to the certificate of distinction. This is possibly the best course I've ever taken of any kind. The course material is amazing, Dan Ariely is a tremendous presenter, and the videos were superbly designed and developed. (I'm an instructional designer and using ideas from the videos for some videos I'm doing for a course.) I learned a ton, and watching the video lectures the second time helped things sink in, so I can't complain about taking the course twice. Thanks, Dan Ariely and the rest of the development team!
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Anonymous
4.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
:-) my vote: **** of *****

positive:

teacher: very congenial

presentation: very professional, entertaining, rich in content; nice design

content: interesting , fascinating, descriptive examples

a little negative:

office-ours: sometime too long-winded, sometime too private/casual

questions/quizzes: sometimes boring/ too ironic

- optimal for target group “beginners”

- probably disappointing for target group “advanced” (just to found their knowledge or to enjoy Dan`s presentation)

- suggestion for the next course: a short subsumption with short bullets at the end of a lecture (verbal + written)

- my personal recommended additional support: Dan Ariely`s book “Denken hilft zwar, nützt aber nichts (sorry, don`t know the original caption). I will read more, in any case!
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I had already read the book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.. so i knew this would be an interesting course. This also meant that i knew about many of the topics beforehand.

The course is different in how friendly everything was, of course Dan knows how to persuade and make us get pleasant feelings from the course. I was actually excited to listen to the lectures, and to relate to things in everyday life. I even watched all the office hours (i never did this for any online course before)

The assignments have been wonderful, i liked the idea. They might seem a bit hard at first, but once you finish them you feel good about yourself, and you learn something.

One of the best online courses i encountered, i think i can rank it at the top 2 of the 12 online courses i took so far.
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I got BA in Economics and MBA. Therefore, I was familiar with economics before taking this class. However, behavioral economics is new to me. And the name of the course attracted me, so I read about it and decided to take it. I was very excited to start this course because of the new subject and also because it was my first online course. I was very pleased with this class. Every week after reading and watching the video lectures, I would share with my friends and family all the interesting things I've learned or found out. The videos were fun, readings were new with all the research done. It was challenging too with 2 papers to write. I enjoyed it a lot. I hope Dan and his team continue this course as I beleive there's a lot for people to learn from them! Thank you!
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