Choice Overload: Consequences, Causes, and Remedies



The prevailing supposition in modern society is that people confronted with more choices will both make higher-quality decisions and be happier with their decision outcomes. This talk challenges the assumption that more choice is better by providing evidence for a phenomenon referred to as „choice overload“ – that when people face more choices they:

  • Are more likely to opt out of making a choice
  • And if they do make a choice
    • They tend to choose options that are simpler instead of ones that maximize their Utility.
    • They are less satisfied with their choices.

Next, this presentation reviews findings that examine three potential causes of choice overload:

  • Cognitive overload
  • Anticipated regret
  • Inability to perceive differences across options
Then, a remedy for choice overload is proposed that considers the potentially powerful effects of seemingly simple changes to the presentation of options. Future research directions will be discussed.
Contact information:
Dr. B. Donkers