Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Paradox of Choice

I linked to some stuff about the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz last year, but didn't really follow it up. Now I'm studying it for my thesis and finding all kinds of fascinating ideas around the concept. The New Yorker review and an interview with the author are a good place to start, and his earlier paper introduces many of the main ideas in the book -- Self-Determination: The Tyranny of Freedom (pdf). One of the main studies supporting his ideas is outlined here -- When Choice is Demotivating, by Sheena S. Iyengar, who has done amazing research in this area.

Why does this matter? At the root of this lifestylism project is my belief that we don't tend to make lifestyle decisions that reflect our core values. Anything that helps us understand that process is a step toward developing better ways to make those choices.

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