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Culture & Religion

The Paradox of Choice

There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but we humans tend to get overwhelmed by too many possibilities—whether in choosing potential mates or choosing between brands of jam at the grocery store. Columbia University Business School professor Sheena Iyengar has spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of choice, and why we make the choices we do. 

Growing up in a strict Sikh-American home, Iyengar’s ability to control her destiny was limited, and her options were narrowed further when she later lost her sight. As a result, she ended up focusing her studies on the very thing she believed she lacked: choice.  In her Big Think interview, Iyengar says that even animals feel that it’s important to have a say in what is going on around them. And while different cultures have different choice preferences, ultimately, once we master something our choices become infinite. 


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