Less can be more – according to research
Shoppers in a grocery store might think having a large number of choices is a plus. But a research paper out of the University of Columbia suggests an extensive array of options that at first seems highly appealing can eventually hamper "later motivation to buy”.
The paper is well-known for its “jam” experiment, in which shoppers were either given the choice of six types or 24 types of jam to taste. It found that those faced with the smaller number of jams were more likely to buy. It is possible, write the authors, that those with the wider choice felt they didn’t have enough time to determine their favourite when presented with such a large array.
In another experiment in the paper, participants were asked to try chocolates either from a wide selection, a small selection or no selection.The results showed those who were given less choice were more satisfied.
Take time to make important choices in life
We need to make choices in many environments – not only in the supermarket.
Making saving and investment choices are an important example. People should be wary about getting into a "jam" if too much choice puts them off making decisions about their financial futures.
The video tutorial How to keep track of finances gives tips on getting started and warns about the dangers of procrastination. It says to set aside time to make financial decisions on a regular basis and warns: “There’s a cost in not acting”.