In this special presentation of WNYC’s popular show Radio Lab, behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, joined science writer Jonah Lehrer and program hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich to explore the often surprising factors which motivate and dictate human behavior. Why for example are people generally more comfortable stealing pencils from work than money from a petty cash box? And what does this tell us about the degree to which human decision-making is based upon irrational thinking?
The event combined discussion with live group experiments, games and demonstrations that test the ideas in Ariely’s book, and was followed by food, drink and music under the stars.
Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of WNYC/NPR’s award-winning radio series Radio Lab, which reaches nearly 4 million people per month and describes itself as believing “your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”
The son of two scientists, Abumrad initially ran in the opposite direction, studying creative writing and music composition. He’s since wandered back into the fold, so to speak, but still composes much of the music for Radio Lab. He previously produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs, including On the Media, Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and WNYC’s 24 Hours at the Edge of Ground Zero. The Ring & I, an insightful look at the enduring power of Wagner’s Ring Cycle which he produced and hosted, aired nationally and internationally and earned ten awards, including the prestigious 2005 National Headliner Grand Award in Radio.
Dan Ariely studies people’s irrational behavior in the marketplace. He is the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, author of the book Predictably Irrational, and the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Jonah Lehrer is contributing editor at Wired and the author of the bestselling books How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. His articles regularly appear in The New Yorker, Nature, The New York Times Magazine, Seed, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He is also a contributing editor at Scientific American Mind and NPR’s Radio Lab. Lehrer graduated from Columbia University and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Robert Krulwich is co-host of Radiolab, WNYC Radio’s Peabody Award-winning program about ‘big ideas’, now one of public radio’s most popular shows. It is carried on more than 500 radio stations and its podcasts are downloaded over 5 million times each month. He is also the author of the “Curiously Krulwich” blog, featured on National Geographic, where he illustrates hard-to-fathom concepts in science using drawings, cartoons, videos, and more. For over two decades Krulwich reported for CBS and ABC News, explaining complex subjects in a clear, compelling and entertaining way. He also hosted a season of the PBS program NOVA ScienceNOW. Among his honors are two Emmy, two Peabody, and a George Polk AAAS Science Journalism Award for the PBS special, Cracking the Code of Life. Krulwich earned a BA in history from Oberlin College and a law degree from Columbia University.