We live in a culture of unprecedented choice and often assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. Is that meme true?
Although some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more might not always better than less. Assessments of well-being by various social scientists—among them, David G. Myers of Hope College and Robert E. Lane of Yale University—reveal that increased choice and increased affluence have, in fact, been accompanied by decreased well-being in the U.S. and most other affluent societies. But why?
In his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that the more options we have, the more information and effort we have to go into evaluating them, the more likely we are to be dissatisfied with the outcome. There is a number of reasons for that:
1) Most people hate making trade-offs and will often…
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