I came across this topic on reddit.com and there is another similar interesting talk on TED.com titled Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice. Barry Schwartz is an American psychologist and he has written a book with the title The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less) and you can find it on Amazon or any bookstore.

There is a similar study by Sheena S. Iyenga from Columbia University and Mark R. Lepper from Stamford University titled When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing? The results of the study can be summarized by the article Customers given too many choices are 10x less likely to buy.

There is funny comic strip that talks about choices at Daisy Owl.


Example anecdote on this issue from reddit.
From user HardwareLust:
"I think it depends on what type of person you are. My gf and I are polar opposites on this subject.

She's not bothered by choices at all. If she needs something, she goes to a store, and chooses from what they have. So, for example, if we need a toaster, she'll go to Target and just buy whichever one has the prettiest box, or whatever and she's happy.

Me? Ha. First thing I would do is read all the reviews on every toaster ever made. Then, I would join a forum for toaster fans, and read about all the cool toasters, and what mods they have made to their toasters, what's the best bread to toast, etc. Then, I would endlessly search the internet for the best deal on whatever toaster it was that I wanted (assuming I've been able to pick one to begin with.) Then, after I buy it and get home, I endlessly ruminate over whether I made the right choice or not.

So, she needs a toaster, it takes her an hour, max. Me, it takes 6 months.

EDIT: Like take buying a car, for example. I've wanted a new car for the last 3 years, but I'm fucking paralyzed by all the data that must be taken into account on purchasing a car. Thank god my old one hasn't died yet. My gf's been through two cars already in the amount of time I've tried to decide on one!"


From user combuchan also from Reddit:
"I was in the grocery store the other day to pick up some various cleaning supplies to finish the job in my place.

There was a special on Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. I have no brand preference and go by the cheapest per unit volume, so Lysol's buy-one-get-one-free special was a tantalizing prospect.


are there fucking five different varieties of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner?

I shit you not ... not yet at least, for I dare not ruin my work ... I must have spent 10 minutes trying to figure out which one to buy.

One clings more. One is super penetrating. One has bleach. One seems for hypochondriacs judging by the fact that it declared its murderous intents on two more pathogens than the other ones. How much time do they spend figuring this out? Will the other varities ultimately rule out my eating off it when I'm done because I killed rotavirus and not E Coli?

Would it be that hard for them to just make one that does all of the above so I don't have to stand there like a dumbass and figure out which one is best and why, incidentally, one of them costs 30 cents more than the others? The equal or lesser value proposition becomes ever more difficult in this case.

I was so angry and dejected.

Ultimately, I picked two of the bleach variety.

I picked outright chemical friendliness over something that might offer more cling action or make me less susceptible to reverse anal transmission of a fantastic variety of bacteria.

I'll never know.

Fuck you Lysol. You thought you were being consumer friendly with your specials and your variety, but my decision haunts me to this day. You almost made me spend 50c more a bottle on the one that was good for the environment.

For shame."


Another talk by Barry Schwartz for Google.

Wikipedia.org (Barry Schwartz)
Amazon.com (The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less)
DaisyOwl.com (Daisy Owl - Cheese)