Behavioral economics expert Dan Ariely on Trump's 'irrational' win and the market's response

Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University who's widely considered one of the most prominent leaders in the field of behavioral economics, shared his perspective on the surprise presidential victory of Donald Trump, how investors can improve their returns and a simple method consumers can use to save money.

"There's probably never been a better period in life to represent the irrational side of human decision-making," Ariely said during his wide-ranging conversation with CNBC's Michael Santoli, in reference to the outcome of the U.S. presidential race.

One of the explanations presented by the professor is fear, a powerful emotion that's ingrained in humans' genetic makeup and can impair rational thinking.

"I think people are afraid of what's happening in the job market, poverty, having difficulty to pay bills, rising health care expenses," he said.

"And those emotions are taking over. And it's very easy to sit here and say: Oh, people should take the costs and benefits into account and they should really do something calculated. But the moment people are fearful, we don't get at that point. You're just afraid, you want to close down. This is why it's so easy to hate," he added.

Ariely, who's the author of three New York Times best-selling books, also discusses:

  • Making sense of Trump's surprise victory
  • Understanding behavioral patterns that can help you become a better investor
  • How to approach personal finance and save more
  • What drives motivation and performance
  • The psychology behind investing and how to avoid the most common pitfalls

PRO subscribers can also read the entire transcript of the exclusive interview below.