Peter A. Ubel M.D.

I am a physician and behavioral scientist. My research and writing explores the quirks in human nature that influence our lives - the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness and the way our society functions. (What fun would it be to tackle just the easy problems?) I'm a professor of Business and Public Policy at Duke University.

My research explores controversial issues about the role of values and preferences in health care decision making, from decisions at the bedside to policy decisions. I use the tools of decision psychology and behavioral economics to explore topics like informed consent, shared decision making and health care rationing. My new book, Critical Decisions, explores the challenges of shared decision making between doctors and patients. In my spare time, I enjoy classical piano, sports (playing and coaching!), chili peppers and raising two very active boys.  

Author of


In Scientocracy, I blog about how behavioral science can inform some of our trickiest policy dilemmas. Where I muse about what the world would look like if evidence guided our political decision making. Read now.
Author of

Critical Decisions

In Critical Decisions, I write about controversies and challenges that arise in medical decision making, from the bedside to the boardroom.  I weave together stories from "the trenches" with reflections on the ethics and the psychology of decision making when our health is at stake.  Of note: when I write about patients in these posts, I use pseudonyms unless indicated, and add or subtract details to protect people's identities.

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