POST #21: The Choice Paradox’s Paradox

Isabel Thanks for the post.


supermarket-1229077246-820x420The Choice Paradox is an interesting theory, first named as such by the economist Barry Schwartz, in his 2004 book of the same name, subtitled ‘Why More is Less’. The idea that being presented with more choice (over, for example, brands or types of a product) actually leads to less end happiness is one that I like. It seems satisfyingly counter-intuitive; surprising findings based on solid data. However, recent experiments have cast doubt on Schwartz’ thesis, and so you will have to excuse the strange title – the double ‘Paradox’ was too much to resist – and read on to make your own conclusions!

Imagine walking into a newsagents, and by the counter there are three or four different brands of chocolate. There aren’t many, and so your expectation of how good your choice will be is not too high. You evaluate each’s merits and detractions, and pick what you…

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