Quick pick could be a strategy to avoid option overload, not a show of increased security

The quick pick could be a strategy to avoid option overload, not a show of increased security

A streaming service, such as Netflix, can have an offer of titles close to 4,000. When it comes time to choose a movie, are you more likely to make a decision quickly or carefully examine the possibilities?

Psychologists refer to those looking for something to arrive at a suitable choice as ‘satisfiers’. Meanwhile, it is the ‘maximizers’ who are exhaustively looking for what might be considered the perfect option. The former seems like a healthier strategy, but a new study says otherwise (with a nuance).

Maximizers VS Satisfiers

New research from the University of Buffalo that measured cardiovascular responses at decision time, rather than after the fact, suggests that it is the satisfiers that feel unable to really choose, and what appears to be a certainty Quick could actually be a defense of having to think too much about the options presented to them .

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As Thomas Saltsman , lead author of the study, explains:

We found evidence that, compared to maximizers, satisfiers showed cardiovascular threat responses consistent with evaluating themselves as less able to handle their choice in the moment.

Saltsman says that satisfiers may minimally search through their options not because they are less particular or simply less concerned about their choices than maximizers, but because they feel unable to choose between so many options .

Using a sample of 128 participants, the researchers first assessed everyone’s decision-making style (maximization versus satisfaction), before presenting 15 personal online profiles and attached cards with related biographical details. Participants had three minutes to choose their ‘ideal’ person or partner. Later, they reported on their decision.

Unlike previous studies, the researchers measured cardiovascular responses to better understand the psychological experiences of the participants during their choice.

The findings, published in the journal Psychophysiology , challenge traditional wisdom. The implications are relevant not only for day-to-day decision making, but also speak to how people approach important decisions.