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The Difficulty Limited and Extensive choices Essay

Abstract

The conducted study is based on personal choice in limited and extensive choice experimental groups. It was conducted to further the research in choice overload and paralysis of the mind. The central aim was to assess if people in limited choice groups were more motivated to win, found it less difficult to choose and were more satisfied with their choice. Due to past research, results should indicate an evident slant for the limited choice group being more satisfied and finding it less difficult to choose. The study recruited HPS121 students to participate in a limited and extensive choice experiment in context to hotels.

There were 661 participants, each chose one hotel and where then surveyed using six questions; three demographic and three in regards to difficulty, motivation and satisfaction using a 7-point Likert scale. The findings supported the hypothesis and were consistent with past research. Satisfaction and difficulty of choice showed a statistically significant difference with limited choice groups finding it less difficult and ended more satisfied. Motivation wasn’t statistically significant however; the limited choice group were still more motivated to win. Society today has an explosion of choice and this study indicates that too much choice is causing choice overload and paralysis of the mind. Choice is great however, too much is damaging society.

Social psychology is the study of how people or situations influence our feelings, thoughts and behaviour. Personal choice is a new study within social psychology and is highly important to research due to the ever-growing explosion of choices we are facing in today’s society. Schwartz (2006) discusses this stigma of more choice being attractive however; it’s decreasing people’s satisfaction and increasing paralysis of the mind. He states that extensive choice leads to greater expectations which leads to a decrease in overall satisfaction, self blame for not making the perfect choice, opportunity costs (i.e.; always wanting to do something that your not doing) and regret/anticipated regret.

Mouse heart (2008) a radio host presenter spoke about the choice explosion occurring in today’s society with Hugh Mackay, who has conducted wide-ranging research on the issue of the paradox of choice. Hugh suggests that there is a rise of the options generation which are people ranging from 18-35 years of age who can be distinguished by the pace of change in their lives and how comfortable they are with the open option.

Iyengar and Lepper (2000) conducted three studies into the research of limited and extensive choice that explored motivation and satisfactional differences between the two groups. Study one used a display of jams of which two could only be tasted. One condition involved a selection of six jams and the other a selection of 24 jams. The results were evident that the extensive group found it less motivating to buy any jam due to paralyses and choice overload. Study two Iyengar and Lepper (2000) involved essay topics of which the limited choice group chose from six and the extensive choice chose from 30.

The topics were based on the film 12 angry men. Results showed in the extensive group that motivation was severly affected when it came to writing the essay and the quality was hindered. Finally study three involved chocolates and three groups, limited choice, extensive choice and no choice (control group). Fndings indicated that participants in the limited choice who tasted chocolate were far more likely to receive $5.00 worth of chocalate as payment for participating than the extensive group who mostly went for the money.

The results are contradictory as people in current society have an abundant of choice and perceive it to be better, however; current research shows it may be more beneficial to limit choice. Our study tried to explore this in the motivation, satisfaction and difficulty differences across the two choice groups by conducting a study with six limited choice options and 24 extensive choice options.

The study that Deakin university trimester two psychology students participated in was based on limited and extensive choice in context to hotels. This study aimed to replicate current findings on motivation and satisfaction and to test the hypothesis, a person who had fewer hotels to choose from would be more motivated to win the reimbursement, find it less difficult to choose and be more satisfied with their choice of hotel over participants from the extensive choice group.

Method

Deakin Hps121 students were asked to pick one hotel at which they would like to stay at and one lucky student would win a $400.00 reimbursement for there stay. Participants were split into two groups at random allocation. Half received a choice from six hotels (limited choice group) whereas the others received a choice from 24 hotels (extensive choice group). Once participants had chosen their desired hotel, they were asked a set of six questions, three of which were demographic and the remaining three were conducted using a 7-point Likert scale.

Participants:

Participants were from Deakin University studying Hps121 in trimester two. The study used a consequence sample randomly allocating participants into the two experimental groups, either extensive choice or limited choice. There were 661 participants in this study, 546 of which were female and 115 of which were male. The ages ranged from 18-66 years of age: (M=22.37 years, SD=7.51 years). Consent was gained through a disclaimer at the start of the survey, which stipulated and outlined the ethical issues.

Materials:

Photographs of four to five star hotels in Queensland, Australia, with descriptive words explaining the hotel were used. To test the hypothesis a 7-point Likert scale was used to indicate the participants satisfaction, motivation to win and the difficulty the experienced from choosing a hotel.

Procedure:

Students of Hps121 were asked to complete a survey at their discretion. One lucky student had the chance to win a $400.00 reimbursement for the hotel they chose in the study. Participants were then given a link to the survey online via cloud Deakin. There was a consent form outlining the ethical issues and participants could either accept or decline to participate. The participants that voluntarily participated were then randomly categorised into the two experimental groups: one limited choice and the other extensive choice. Photographs of hotels that were four to five stars based in Queensland, Australia were then presented to the participants, the photographs had a few words description.

The Limited choice group were able to choose from six hotels and the extensive choice group were able to choose from 24 hotels. After the participants had chosen they were then asked to complete a series of six questions, three of which were demographic based and asked for the student’s age, gender and also their student id number. The second three questions were based on a 7-point Likert scale that asked for the participant’s motivation to win, how hard their choice was and how satisfied they were with their choice of hotel. A t-test was then used to derive the results.

In conclusion to the study conducted the extensive amounts of choice society is facing currently is damaging the population. Society is however built like this with technology ever growing and choices expanding everyday, therefore the population need to find a way to cope with the paralysis it’s causing. In any case the limited choice groups were far better off and showed higher rates of satisfaction, found it less difficult to make a choice and had slightly more motivation to participate. The study supported the findings from Schwartz, B (2006), Maushart, S (2006) and Iyengar and Lepper (2000). Showing us that extensive choice may be at first more appealing but not beneficial or appealing subsequently.

References

Iyengar, S. S., Lepper, M. R. When choice is demotivating: Can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000,
79: 995-1006. •Maushart, S. (Presenter). Multiple Choice, Episode 1 -For the Options Generation, the paradoxes of choice abound -like the couple who lived happily ever after…and then got married. [Podcast radio programme]. (2008, February 20) Sydney: ABC Radio National. Retrieved November 4, 2013 from http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200803/r229466_914710.mp3

•Schwartz, B. Too Much Choice. (2006, October 14) [Video] Retrieved November 4, 2013 from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choic e.html


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