Can There Ever Be Too Many Options

Can There Ever Be Too Many Options - Can There Ever Be Too...

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409 q 2010 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc. Vol. 37 October 2010 All rights reserved. 0093-5301/2010/3703-0011$10.00. DOI: 10.1086/651235 Can There Ever Be Too Many Options? A Meta-Analytic Review of Choice Overload BENJAMIN SCHEIBEHENNE RAINER GREIFENEDER PETER M. TODD The choice overload hypothesis states that an increase in the number of options to choose from may lead to adverse consequences such as a decrease in the motivation to choose or the satisfaction with the ±nally chosen option. A number of studies found strong instances of choice overload in the lab and in the ±eld, but others found no such effects or found that more choices may instead facilitate choice and increase satisfaction. In a meta-analysis of 63 conditions from 50 pub- lished and unpublished experiments ( N p 5,036), we found a mean effect size of virtually zero but considerable variance between studies. While further analyses indicated several potentially important preconditions for choice overload, no suf- ±cient conditions could be identi±ed. However, some idiosyncratic moderators pro- posed in single studies may still explain when and why choice overload reliably occurs; we review these studies and identify possible directions for future research. I n today’s market democracies, people face an ever-in- creasing number of options to choose from across many domains, including careers, places to live, holiday desti- nations, and a seemingly in±nite number of consumer prod- ucts. While individuals may often be attracted by this va- riety, it has been suggested that an overabundance of options to choose from may sometimes lead to adverse conse- quences. These proposed effects of extensive assortments include a decrease in the motivation to choose, to commit to a choice, or to make any choice at all (Iyengar, Huberman, and Jiang 2004; Iyengar and Lepper 2000); a decrease in preference strength and satisfaction with the chosen option (Chernev 2003b; Iyengar and Lepper 2000); and an increase in negative emotions, including disappointment and regret Benjamin Scheibehenne is a research scientist at the Department for Economic Psychology, University of Basel, 4055 Basel, Switzerland ([email protected]). Rainer Greifeneder is a research sci- entist at the University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany ([email protected]). Peter M. Todd is professor of cognitive science, informatics, and psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 ([email protected]). The present article is based on the ±rst author’s dissertation conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Berlin, Ger- many. The authors are grateful for the constructive and valuable input they received from the editor, the associate editor, and the reviewers. In addition, the authors thank Wolfgang Viechtbauer and the Indiana Statistical Con- sulting Center for their support in conducting the meta-analysis.
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course ORGANIC CH 341 taught by Professor Idk during the Spring '11 term at Wisconsin.

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Can There Ever Be Too Many Options - Can There Ever Be Too...

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