Bestselling Author Dan Ariely Launches Cool Card Game To Make Us Less Irrational

By Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels November 02, 2015 Comments

Dan Ariely, the professor of Behavioral Economics behind bestselling titles like “Predictably Irrational” has come up with a new way to help us make better, less irrational decisions: a 3.5” x 7.5” card game. Launched on Kickstarter, the game has already flown off the virtual shelves, garnering $114,000 in funds and far surpassing its goal of $15,000.

The card game is played like Trivial Pursuit, but without the board or those silly triangle pieces that mysteriously disappear over time. The 75 individually illustrated cards describe different social experiments and ask the player, in multiple choice format, what was the outcome.

“One of the goals of our game was to seed a discussion about the lessons from different social science experiments,” Ariely said, on the game’s Facebook page. “We hoped that after players predicted different results, there will be a discussion around the table – what does this all say about us, and how can we make better decisions?”


A bit old fashioned, you might say. But wait until you hear the experiments.

One card reads:

People were presented with two female portraits, and asked to say which one they thought was more attractive. [Sounds like a Harvard dorm-room game, doesn’t?] After they selected the photo they liked, they were given the card they selected and asked to look at it and explain why they preferred this woman. However, the cards were switched, and the people received the card of the OTHER woman (the “wrong card”) instead.

What percentage of the participants detected the manipulation, and what percentage didn’t?

Because it’s a Dan Ariely’s experiment, you know that the percentage of people that didn’t spot the switch must be high. But just how high was it?

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely

The answer is on the back of the card, the whole set of which can be purchased through Ariely’s Kickstarter page for $24. Launched last week, chances are that the total money raised will surpass the stretch goal of $180,000 before November 20th when the campaign ends. The funds will be used for further research at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, where Ariely hopes that behavioral economics will become more of an applied social science based on experiments, rather than traditional economics, which deals more with the study of policy.

In other words, Microeconomics 101 could be replaced with a card game.

Photos: Dan Ariely

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