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Too Many Fish in the Sea: A Motivational Examination of the Choice Overload Experience

Saltsman, TL and Seery, MD and Kondrak, CL and Lamarche, VM and Streamer, L (2019) 'Too Many Fish in the Sea: A Motivational Examination of the Choice Overload Experience.' Biological Psychology. ISSN 0301-0511

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Evidence supports that being overwhelmed by many choice options predicts negative consequences. However, there is uncertainty regarding the effects of choice overload on two key motivational dimensions: (1) the extent to which people view their decision as subjectively valuable (versus not), and (2) the extent to which people view themselves as capable (versus incapable) of reaching a good decision. While evaluating their options and while deciding, we assessed theory-based cardiovascular responses reflecting these dimensions. A meta-analysis across two experiments found that participants who made a final selection from many options—relative to those who chose from few or rated many—exhibited cardiovascular responses consistent with greater task engagement (i.e., perceiving greater subjective value), as well as greater threat (i.e., perceiving fewer resources to manage situational demands). The current work suggests a novel motivational account of choice overload, providing insight into the nature and timing of this experience as it occurs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Choice overload, Cardiovascular reactivity, Challenge and threat, Psychophysiology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2019 08:31
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2020 01:00

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