View Full Version : Studies as to how people make -- or not make -- decisions

09-28-2010, 09:16 PM
Thought-provoking, at least

Why So Many People Can't Make Decisions


Different Strokes


Speak their mind or make quick decisions.
Be more predictable in making decisions (e.g., who they vote for).
Be less anxious about making wrong choices.
Have relationship conflicts that are less drawn out.
Be less likely to consider others' points of view.


Procrastinate or avoid making decisions if possible.
Feel more regret after making decisions.
Be thoughtful about making the right choice.
Stay longer in unhappy relationships.
Appreciate multiple points of view


April 25, 2010
Decisions, Decisions . . .
It May Not Sound Rational, But Experts Say Emotions and Gut Feelings Are More Important Than Intellect in Making Choices


"For a long time people have said that the best way to make a decision is to be rational," Lehrer said. "And yet, in recent years, scientists have discovered that the rational brain can only take in a few bits of information at any given moment. So, you start giving it too much information and it starts to short-circuit and sputter."

To eliminate sputtering when faced with complex decisions - buying a car, computer, or even a house - Lehrer says stop all that thinking . . . just go for it!

Even experts on decisions are not immune.

"This is a slightly embarrassing confession," said Lehrer, "but I got interested in the subject in large part because of my own chronic indecision. I was the type of guy who would walk into a drug store for toothpaste and lose an entire afternoon."

Don't tell Baskin Robbins, famous for its 31 flavor campaign, but in fact more choices may make an actual purchase less likely, as Professor Iyengar discovered with her supermarket "Jam Experiment."

In one display, she put out six samples of jam. In another, 24.

Result: Shoppers mobbed the table with 24 varieties . . . BUT they were 10 times more likely to buy jam when they were staring at only six.

"Everybody wants to go to that store that offers you a thousand options, and that's the best recipe to walk into that store and walk out and buy nothing," she said.

I've noticed that at work...customers overwhelmed with options, which prompts them to delay purchasing the product in order to "think about it". :wall:

I also remember going to a cafe years ago with a man who defected from the Soviet Union and we were looking at the menu of teas and coffees. "So many little decisions here in America EVERY day :yikes: ". Yes, there is definitely a downside to so many options.

09-28-2010, 10:57 PM
I know that I can find better books at a small library than at a big city one. It takes too long to find the good ones amongst the overwhelming shelves.

Aussie Willy
09-28-2010, 11:39 PM
I've noticed that at work...customers overwhelmed with options, which prompts them to delay purchasing the product in order to "think about it". :wall:

I like to think about it. Because if the thing I saw is still in my mind after half an hour and I can think of very good reasons to go back and buy it, then that is going to influence my decision making.

Unless they are a pair of jeans or pants that fit perfectly first time and look good, and having been someone who has trouble finding things like that to fit, then I will usually get them. Because I know that I am going to wear them and they won't be wasted.

09-29-2010, 12:33 AM
I've noticed that at work...customers overwhelmed with options, which prompts them to delay purchasing the product in order to "think about it". :wall:
Yeah my art instructors always said that when you work with clients, just provide 3 options. You can weed out the crappy ones while you brainstorm by yourself, but when it comes to decision-time with the client, only lay out your 3 best ones. Otherwise they'll get overwhelmed. :lol:

09-29-2010, 12:37 AM
I found this series of audio lectures on decision making enlightening:

It covers intuition, groupthink, reasoning by analogy, etc. First part is more interesting than the sec though

09-29-2010, 03:32 AM
I like his one by Dan Ariely, athough it kind of negates the whole "go with your gut" thing :shuffle:

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decis ions.html

09-29-2010, 03:52 AM
The description about the person who sees the world in shades of gray is totally describing me! I can never ever make a decision, just ask my boyfriend! I can also talk myself out of anything, even something that I think I feel strongly about. Creepy but I think I prefer to see the world in shades of gray rather than only black and white.

09-29-2010, 03:56 AM
I was talking about my college experience in the other thread, and one of the things I had an issue with was the endless choices of courses at a large university. I was overwhelmed all right.

My gut instinct was right at the time--I wanted to go to a smaller state U (though I ended up not going).