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Scientists uncover why you can't decide what to order for lunch

A new Caltech study finds the brain regions responsible for the choice overload effect 

Date:October 1, 2018

Source:California Institute of Technology

Summary:Researchers explore the choice overload effect, a phenomenon that hampers the brain's ability to make a decision when there are too many options.

If you've ever found yourself staring at a lengthy restaurant menu and been completely unable to decide what to order for lunch, you have experienced what psychologists call choice overload. The brain, faced with an overwhelming number of similar options, struggles to make a decision.

A study conducted in California nearly 20 years ago is illustrative of the effect. In that study, researchers set up a table offering samples of jams to customers in a grocery store. At times, 24 jam samples were provided; at other times, only six. It turned out that although shoppers were more likely to stop and try samples when the table was jam-packed, they also were much less likely to actually purchase any jam. Shoppers were somewhat less likely to stop at the table when it had only six jams, but when they did, they were 10 times more likely to make a jam purchase than the customers at the fuller table.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181001171154.htm

 

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