A modicum of sanity on choice

I have not had time to read the original study but this rings true to me:

But now Benjamin Scheibehenne and colleagues have waded into the topic with the claim that the "too-much-choice effect" has in fact failed to appear in many experiments, and with the real-life observation that shops that offer more consumer choice tend to be more successful.

In a series of experiments, Scheibehenne's team tested 598 participants who were asked to choose from among restaurants, charities and music downloads. Throughout, they varied factors that they hoped might explain why the too-much-choice effect sometimes occurs and sometimes doesn't.

Examples of these factors included the need to justify one's choice; the perceived variety of choice, as opposed to actual amount of choice; the mean attractiveness of a range of choices; cultural differences (they tested German and US students); and individual differences such as people's tendency to maximise – that is, their consistent desire to find the perfect option.

For most of the experiments, the too-much-choice effect wasn't actually observed and when it did, the only relevant factor which increased the effect was the need to justify one's choice.

"The fact that most of the variables that we tested were not sufficient to elicit choice overload suggests that the too-much-choice effect is less robust than previously thought," the researchers said.

Repeat this fragment after me: "…the real-life observation that shops that offer more consumer choice tend to be more successful."  

Why do I choose that you should repeat that fragment and not some other?  I'm not going to tell you.


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