Predictably Erotic

Duke University professor Dan Ariely is looking for participants in a study that involves sex toys.  Ariely, author of the NYT and WSJ bestseller Predictably Irrational, is known for his research in behavioral economics.  He proposes that people often make decisions for reasons not grounded in logic or reason.  Ariely thinks that we can better explain human behavior by understanding how emotions and other irrational bases for decision-making affect the choices we make.  I think that man is rational enough for most purposes, but that’s a topic for a future post.

This study has cleared the Institutional Review Board at Duke.  I think that says something about that school down the road.  It is unclear whether or not the study has cleared the Office of Human Research Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill.

This post isn’t an April fools joke, but the image that one of the study’s research assistants sent to us is pretty ironic (it’s a Tupperware party scene).  I don’t qualify for the study, so I won’t be participating.

The idea of a sex toy study or party at a major research institution now seems predictable and trite. Ariely recently conducted a similar sex toy study, which he paid for with private donations. That study, which involved Duke students, irked religious leaders at the school.

We’ll wait to see what the results of this study are before proclaiming its pettiness or merit. In the meantime, consider yourself informed.

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