The Psychology of Choice: We can be Overwhelmed

Posted on November 17, 2009  Comments (0)

Is less always more? by Dave Munger

shoppers with just a few flavors of jam to choose from are more likely to buy than those given dozens of options (including the original choices). It’s as if we’re paralyzed when we have a large number of options to choose from, and so we end up getting nothing.

Significantly more students bought the pens when there was a middle number of choices than when there were either high or low numbers of choices. So we appear to prefer a moderate number of choices — not too many, and not too few.

Shah and Wolford believe that purchasing patterns are likely to be similar for a wide range of products — although depending on the particular product, the optimal number of choices might be higher or lower than the 8-12 range they found for roller-ball pens.

In The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz discusses related ideas and mentions the only kind of mobile phone you can’t get not is a simple one.

Related: The Psychology of Too Much ChoiceThe Decoy EffectThe Brain is Wired to Mull Over Decisions

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