This Course In Behavioural Economics Explains Why We Do Stupid Things

This Course In Behavioural Economics Explains Why We Do Stupid Things

Humans often act irrationally, making decisions — sometimes important ones — that contradict our best interests. This kind of irrational behaviour is at the centre of behavioural economics, and this free, online eight-week course by TED speaker, author and Duke Professor Dan Ariely will introduce you to the topic.

Video: Big Think

Dan Ariely, a friend of Lifehacker who’s work we’ve featured before, (including his workspace!) is teaching a free, eight-week course in behavioural economics that draws largely from his own research on topics we’ve discussed — why we make stupid decisions when we’re shopping, how “free” colours our decisions against our better judgement, why time seems to pass quicker when you get older, and how we really find meaning in our work, among other topics. The full course will dive into many of those, like how expectations shape perception, the role of dishonesty and lying in communities of honest people, our “irrational” thinking about things like money and investments, how self-control plays a role in decision making, and how emotion colours our decision-making process.

The class is worth joining if you’re at all interested in critical thinking and understanding how subconscious behaviours can so easily override our conscious decisions. The course starts 11 March, and sign-ups are still open. There are quizzes and an exam, and while the class isn’t being offered for credit, you will get a certificate upon completion if you want one. Alternatively, you can just take the class and enjoy the lectures. Hit the link below to enrol.

A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behaviour [Coursera via David Pogue (Twitter)]

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