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The Center for Advanced Hindsight Moves, But You Knew That

Social science research group takes up new quarters in Erwin Mill

The new suite for the Center for Advanced Hindsight.
The new suite for the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

We usually don't take notice of the opening of new offices
for one of the myriad of Duke academic and research centers on campus, but
because of its unique name we can't let this one pass: The Center for Advanced
Hindsight has moved into new quarters at the Social Science Research Institute

Directed by Duke behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the Center
for Advanced Hindsight
was created in 1996 at the annual national Judgment and
Decision Making conference because, the center's website says, its
members "seemed to be affiliated with some wonderful-sounding institution and
they felt left out."

But behind that humorous beginning, the center's researchers
have produced scholarship, examining health marketing, cheating and other
ethical issues, pain, individual judgment, consumer behavior and a variety of
other real-world topics.  Ariely's
research has led to two best-selling books exploring patterns of irrational
human behavior and why such behavior can be a good thing.

Speaking from San Francisco, where he was preparing to visit the Burning Man festival in Nevada, Ariely said there is a purpose to the center's name: Looking backward at the "obvious" provides a rich source of useful and not-so obvious research.

"The kind of stuff we do is research that people often end
up saying afterwards, 'Oh, I knew that all along,'" said Ariely, a James B. Duke
Professor at the Fuqua School with secondary appointments at the Kenan
Institute, the Institute for Brain Sciences and SSRI.

"The name of the center is meant to capture and have some fun with that attitude.  But the mission of the
research is to try to make people more careful about what it is we do know."

Located in suite C of the Erwin Mill Building, the center is
decked out in brightly colored furniture, open spaces between researcher's computers
plus massage chair and a few games to relax with.  Visitors are welcome.