The cereal aisle is ruining your life; Choices aren't always a good thing

The cereal aisle is ruining your life; Choices aren't always a good thing
Photo by dno1967

The cereal aisle can make anyone dizzy. How about trying to find the perfect pair of jeans? You probably head home exhausted and not very satisfied.

Studies, including at least one from the University of Minnesota, says the our overload of choices can actually make us feel worse. Just give up now while you're ahead.

Perhaps all of our choices are supposed to make us feel free and special. Not so much.

One U of M researcher talked to the LA Times about choice overload and how it is ruining our lives.

Some studies show that having to make too many decisions can leave people tired, mentally drained and more dissatisfied with their purchases. It also leads people to make poorer choices -- sometimes at a time when the choice really matters.

The notion that choice is always good for people -- the more choices the better -- seemed intuitively wrong to Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota.

"Clearly there are costs to having too much choice," she says -- and she set out to find what they were. Vohs, who has studied the effect of choice on consumers for many years, found in a recent project that even making pleasant choices can deplete one's mental resources, making a person less able to concentrate later.

Vohs's study showed that students who had to make decisions later spent less time studying for tests, gave up on other tasks and sucked at math problems compared to students who didn't have to make choices. Voh has also studied "decision fatigue" in shopping malls and found similar problems after shoppers became overwhelmed with their purchasing options. The more choices the shoppers made, the worse their math skills were.

In other words, stop making choices in your life. Blame the cereal aisle for your terrible mood.

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