Widely regarded as the world's most influential living psychologist, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioral economics — exploring the irrational ways we make decisions about risk.

Why you should listen

Daniel Kahneman is an eminence grise for the Freakonomics crowd. In the mid-1970s, with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he was among the first academics to pick apart exactly why we make "wrong" decisions. In their 1979 paper on prospect theory, Kahneman and Tversky examined a simple problem of economic risk. And rather than stating the optimal, rational answer, as an economist of the time might have, they quantified how most real people, consistently, make a less-rational choice. Their work treated economics not as a perfect or self-correcting machine, but as a system prey to quirks of human perception. The field of behavioral economics was born.

Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Memorial prize in 2002 for his work with Tversky, who died before the award was bestowed. In a lovely passage in his Nobel biography, Kahneman looks back on his deep collaboration with Tversky and calls for a new form of academic cooperation, marked not by turf battles but by "adversarial collaboration," a good-faith effort by unlike minds to conduct joint research, critiquing each other in the service of an ideal of truth to which both can contribute.

What others say

“Amos and I shared the wonder of together owning a goose that could lay golden eggs -- a joint mind that was better than our separate minds.” — Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman’s TED talks

Daniel Kahneman on the TED Blog

Science

Playing memory games on this week’s TED Radio Hour

May 24, 2013

How do you keep memories? And how much can you trust those preservations? This week’s TED Radio Hour, “Memory Games,” looks at recollections versus actual experiences, sorts through our tendency to create false memories, and unpacks how we can actually enhance our ability to remember. Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser starts the hour. He is the […]

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TED2010

The riddle of experience vs. memory: Daniel Kahneman on TED.com

March 1, 2010

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 20:07) Watch Daniel […]

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Quotes from Daniel Kahneman

Below an income of … $60,000 a year, people are unhappy, and they get progressively unhappier the poorer they get. Above that, we get an absolutely flat line. … Money does not buy you experiential happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.
Daniel Kahneman
TED2010 • 2.4M views Mar 2010
Fascinating, Informative
We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. Even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.
Daniel Kahneman
TED2010 • 2.4M views Mar 2010
Fascinating, Informative