Shortcuts – The Paralyzing Problem of Too Many Choices – NYTimes.com

by SteveBayle on February 27, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/your-money/27shortcuts.html?scp=1&sq=choices&st=cse

Although it has long been the common wisdom in our country that there is no such thing as too many choices, as psychologists and economists study the issue, they are concluding that an overload of options may actually paralyze people or push them into decisions that are against their own best interest.

But Benjamin Scheibehenne, a research scientist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, said it might be too simple to conclude that too many choices are bad, just as it is wrong to assume that more choices are always better. It can depend on what information we’re being given as we make those choices, the type of expertise we have to rely on and how much importance we ascribe to each choice.

Mr. Scheibehenne recently co-wrote an analysis, to be published in October in The Journal of Consumer Research, examining dozens of studies about choices. One problem, he said, is separating the concept of choice overload from information overload.

In other words, he said, how much are people affected by the number of choices and “how much from the lack of information or any prior understanding of the options?” 

So here’s the problem and the opportunity, every year consumer brands unleash thousands of new products, how can we help make it easier for consumer to decide what to buy rather than more difficult when they are bombarded with both choices and information?

Can technology be used to narrow the choices, provide more relevant information and make decision making easier? A more tractable task than convincing brands that less can be more.

Posted via email from PostVerbela

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