Like Thoreau and the band Devo, psychology professor Schwartz provides ample evidence that we are faced with far too many choices on a daily basis, providing an illusion of a multitude of options when few honestly different ones actually exist. The conclusions Schwartz draws will be familiar to anyone who has flipped through 900 eerily similar channels of cable television only to find that nothing good is on. Whether choosing a health-care plan, choosing a college class or even buying a pair of jeans, Schwartz, drawing extensively on his own work in the social sciences, shows that a bewildering array of choices floods our exhausted brains, ultimately restricting instead of freeing us. We normally assume in America that more options ("easy fit" or „relaxed fit”?) will make us happier, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that having all these choices actually goes so far as to erode our psychological well-being. Part research summary, part introductory social sciences… (tovább)
The Paradox of Choice 4 csillagozás
Like Thoreau and the band Devo, psychology professor Schwartz provides ample evidence that we are faced with far too many choices on a daily basis, providing an illusion of a multitude of options when few honestly different ones actually exist. The conclusions Schwartz draws will be familiar to anyone who has flipped through 900 eerily similar channels of cable television only to find that nothing good is on. Whether choosing a health-care plan, choosing a college class or even buying a pair of jeans, Schwartz, drawing extensively on his own work in the social sciences, shows that a bewildering array of choices floods our exhausted brains, ultimately restricting instead of freeing us. We normally assume in America that more options ("easy fit" or „relaxed fit”?) will make us happier, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that having all these choices actually goes so far as to erode our psychological well-being. Part research summary, part introductory social sciences tutorial, part self-help guide, this book offers concrete steps on how to reduce stress in decision making. Some will find Schwartz's conclusions too obvious, and others may disagree with his points or find them too repetitive, but to the average lay reader, Schwartz's accessible style and helpful tone is likely to aid the quietly desperate.
alaposan tele van definíciókkal, magyarázatokkal és példákkal. amerikaiasan túl sokat beszél. jó egyben látni, hogy mi van a közgazdasági elméletek mögött, amikor arról beszélünk, hogy a fogyasztó miként határozza el magát a dollárjai elköltésében. az arany tojás a borítón egy nagyon szellemes poén. a tyúk finom volt, mondom a leves után.
And one of the things these surveys tell us is that, not surprisingly, people in rich countries are happier than people in poor countries. Obviously, money matters. But what these surveys also reveal is that money doesn't matter as much as you might think. Once a society's level of per capita wealth crosses a threshold from poverty to adequate subsistence, further increases in national wealth have almost no effect on happiness. You find as many happy people in Poland as in Japan, for example, even though the average Japanese is almost ten times richer than the average Pole. And Poles are much happier than Hungarians (and Icelandics much happier than Americans) despite similar levels of wealth.
By elevating everyone's expectations about autonomy and control, mainstream American society has made deep community involvement much more costly than it would be otherwise.
The distortions incumbent in the desire for control, autonomy, and perfection are nowhere more apparent than in the American obsession with appearance. The evidence is rather compelling that most of us can do little over the long term about our body shape and body weight. The combination of genes and early experience plays a major role in determining what we look like as adults, and virtually all diets tend to produce only short-term changes. These facts about body weight are directly contradicted by what the culture tells us every day. Media and peer pressure tell us that obesity is a matter of choice, personal control, and personal responsibility, that we should aspire to look perfect, and that if we don't, we have only ourselves to blame. According to the culture, if we had enough discipline and self-control we could combine sensible eating habits and exercise regimes and all look like movie stars. That in a typical year Americans buy more than 50 million diet books and spend more than 50 billion dollars on dieting suggests that most Americans accept the view that what they look like is up to them.
The illusion that each person can have the body that he or she wants is especially painful for women, and especially in societies, like ours, in which the „ideal” body is extremely thin. Cultures that promote the ultrathin ideal for women (for example, Sweden, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, and white America) have much higher rates of eating disorders (bulimia and anorexia nervosa) than cultures that do not. Even more significant for the present discussion is that in cultures that adopt the ultrathin ideal, the rate of depression in women is twice that in men. In cultures that adopt a more reasonable ideal, sex differences in rates of depression are smaller.
The (admittedly speculative) connection between thinness and depression is this: body weight is something people are supposed to control, and to look perfect is to be thin. When efforts to be thin fall, people not only have to face the daily disappointment of looking in the mirror, they also must face the casual explanation that this failure to look perfect is their fault.
If you live in a world in which you experience misery more often than joy, adaptation is very beneficial. It may be the only thing that gives you the strength and courage to get through the day. But if you live in a world of plenty, in which sources of joy outnumber sources of misery, then adaptation defeats your attempts to enjoy your good fortune.
We could go a long way toward improving the experienced wellbeing of people in our society if we could find a way to stop th process of adaptation. But adaptation is so fundamental and universal a feature of our responses to events in the world – it is so much a „hardwired” property of our nervous systems – that there is very little we can do to mitigate it directly.
However, simply be being aware of the process we can anticipate its effects, and therefore be less disappointed when it comes. This means hat when we are making decisions, we should think about how each of the options will fell not just tomorrow, but months or even years later. Factoring in adaptation to the decision-making process may make differences that seem large at the moment of choice fell much smaller. Factoring in adaptation may help us be satisfied with choices that are good enough rather than „the best”, and this in turn will reduce the time and effort we devote to making those choices. Finally, we can remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have. This may seem trite, the sort of things one hears from parents or ministers, and then ignores. But individuals who regularly experience and express gratitude are physically healthier, more optimistic about the future, and feel better about their lives than those who do not. Individuals who experience gratitude are more alert, enthusiastic, and energetic than those who do not, and they are more likely to achieve personal goals.
And unlike adaptation, the experience of gratitude is something we can affect directly. Experiencing and expressing gratitude actually get easier with practice. By causing us to focus on how much better our lives are than they could have been, or were before, the disappointment that adaptation brings in its wake can be blunted.
The circumstances of modern life seem to be conspiring to make experiences less satisfying than they could and perhaps should be, in part because of the richness against which we are comparing our own experiences. Again, as we'll see, an overload of choice contributes to this dissatisfaction.
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