Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Can reducing our choices increase our happiness? PopAnth link

In Michael Lewis' recent profile of Obama in Vanity Fair, the President remarks, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits.  I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” While my work is much less stressful that Obama's, I too have stopped making eating decisions (I order what someone else at the table has ordered or whatever my wife cooks) to reduce the number of choices I have to make in daily life.  If I go to the supermarket, rather than compare prices and sizes, I pick the brand name I see first.  It is worth the extra 20 cents to not have to worry over another decision.

This begs the question: Does more choice make us happier? The instinctive American response would certainly be yes, but a comparison of German and US shoppers suggests otherwise. 

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