When looking around the web at various lectures and videos I noticed a few of my favourite speakers were talking about a similar area so I thought I’d post three of these videos. Each of the following people explore how we make choices in our everyday lives and the factors that can influence us.
First up is Malcolm Gladwell speaking at TED in 2004. Here he introduces us to the revolution in spaghetti sauce variations from Howard Moscowitz and relates this to the bigger argument about the nature of choice.
So the revelation here is that understanding variability is more important than searching for universals. Understanding the individual, the diversity of human desires is a more successful strategy to producing satisfaction than attempting to find a universal preference. Everyone who buys spaghetti sauce from a supermarket will be very familiar with the variety now on offer within brands as well as across brands and, according to Howard Moscowitz, we are more satisfied because of this.
Sheena Lyengar is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School and here she introduces several features that influence our choice. She raises three assumptions that people have about choice (in the Western world) and of particular interest is the assumption that the more options you have the better choice you’ll make (fast forward to 8:09 to get to this part).
So here the notion is that being given too many choices can actually make it harder to make a decision. After all the value of choice depends on our ability to perceive differences between the options. When the options are many but the difference is small we can get overwhelmed and make a wrong or snap decision.
Lastly is Dan Ariely who specialises in understanding the irrational side of human decision making. In this presentation he backs up Sheena’s argument that adding more choices makes it easier to make a poorer decision (9:40). However, he adds the idea that actually adding a useless choice into the mix will help influence the decisions we make (12:12).Behavioural economics, Design thinking