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Having choices make us feel in control

Having choices make us feel in control Having choices make us feel in control
Source: Rhads via abduzeedo
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People
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100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People
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In The Art of Choosing (2010), Sheena Iyengar describes an experiment with rats. The rats were given a choice of a direct path to food, or a path that had branches and therefore required choices to be made. Both paths resulted in access to the same food in the same amounts. If all the rats wanted was food, then they should take the short, direct path. But the rats continuously preferred the path with branches. In experiments with monkeys and pigeons, the animals learn to press buttons to get food. If given a choice between one button and multiple buttons, both monkeys and pigeons prefer multiple buttons. In similar research with humans, people were given chips to use at a casino. They could use the chips at a table that had one roulette wheel, or at a table where they could choose from two roulette wheels. People preferred the table with two wheels, even though all three wheels were identical.

Even though it isn't necessarily true, people equate having choices with having control. If people are to feel in control, then they need to feel that their actions are powerful and that they have choices to make.

Sometimes having many choices makes it harder to get what they want, but they still want the choices so that they feel in control of the decision. The desire to control the environment is built into us. This makes sense, since by controlling the environment we likely increase our chances of surviving.

Choice is in itself a choice. We can go with the instinct or we can go about thoughtfully. What we do has a direct impact on the happiness generated.

By nit1911qwerty | 12/06/2020

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