December 4, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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How to choose the right option when faced with many options?

How to choose the right option when faced with many options?


  • Our eyes often pick options that are too late.
  • First, our gaze scans the options before we stop at the ones we find most interesting.
  • People stopped their choice when they realized that the second best choice was better than the second best choice.

How do we stop our choice in front of a vending machine that offers 36 different options? German and American researchers studied 49 volunteers who declared themselves breakfast enthusiasts. After four hours of fasting, they were treated to feasts and observed their decisive process. They published the results of their experiment in the journal April 6 eLife.

Many choices of feasts after fasting

Researchers have found that the choice you make can be read with the naked eye. The results of the experiment showed that our eyes mostly choose the delayed options. “When people have many alternatives they are not the only way to decide., Continues to be co-author of the study and Associate Professor of Psychology and Economics at the University Ian KrozbichState of Ohio. It’s a little more complicated than that. ”

During the study, a Eye tracker Participants record their eye activities as they make their choices. After a four-hour fast, the researchers presented sweets on a computer screen and volunteers had to choose between 9, 16, 25, or 36 different options. At the end of the experience, they rated how much they liked the dinners they were being served.

What we see last is not what we choose

The results revealed that the participants did not carefully observe all the factors before making their choice. Instead, they seemed to be doing the first round, which at first glance seemed to be a hit or miss but actually depended on where their favorite items were. “There is this process of peripheral screening, where people learn not to even look towards the snacks they really like., Explains Ian Krozebich. This is not something we see in studies where participants have only two alternatives. This only happens when they have a lot of options.. ”

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Researchers initially thought that volunteers would scan options until they made a mistake on what they thought was best, but this did not match their favorite treat. “But the results did not show, Revealed by Ian Krozbich. If this ‘satisfactory’ pattern is true, people will stop looking as soon as they find a good snack. But the results showed that participants chose only the last snack they saw 45% of the time.. ”

Position on screen has no effect

Volunteers actually go back and forth between objects. “People stopped their choice when they realized that the second best choice was better than the second best choice.”, Adds the researcher.

In addition, the researchers found that the position of the flavoring ingredients on the screen did not affect the decision making. However, they found that participants began their search in the upper left corner of the screen, then looked from left to right and from top to bottom. “Very quickly, their focus shifts to their choices that interest them the most., A concluding Ian Krozebich. This affects their search process and their gaze begins to jump in predictable ways.. ”