Many choices and a paralyzing paradox

Many choices and a paralyzing paradox

People faced with more options than they can effectively consider want to make a good decision, but feel they’re unable to do so, according to the results of a novel study from the University at Buffalo that used cardiovascular measures and fictional dating profiles to reach its conclusions.

Despite the apparent opportunities presented by a lot of options, the need to choose creates a “paralyzing paradox,” according to Thomas Saltsman, a graduate student in the UB Department of Psychology and co-author of the study with Mark Seery, an associate professor of psychology at UB.

“You want to make a good choice, but feel like you can’t,” says Saltsman. “This combination of perceiving high stakes and low ability may contribute to a deep-seated fear that one will inevitably make the wrong choice, which could stifle the decision-making process.”

To manage the seemingly unmanageable, Saltsman says to consider the relative importance of the choice at hand.

“Choosing the wrong menu item for dinner or what to binge-watch is not going to define you as a person,” he says. “It may also be helpful to enter high-choice situations with a few clear guidelines of what you want from your desired option. Doing so may not only help scale down the number of possible choices, by eliminating options that do not meet your guidelines, but may also bolster confidence and trust in your ability to find a choice that meets your needs.”
Source: Many choices seems promising until you actually have to choose