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Maximizing, satisficing and the paradox of choice with Barry Schwartz

by Scott Barry Kaufman, May 25, 2015

A legend in the field, economic psychologist Barry Schwartz talks about how having too many options can be paralytic and tiresome to the human psyche. Schwartz also discusses the destructive force of an “only the best will do” mentality. We contemplate the implications of these concepts across topics like parenting consumerism, creativity, the prevalence of dissatisfaction in the modern world and what we can do to help ourselves.

In this episode you will hear about:

  • The inverted U shape curve of psychology and the vital importance of balance
  • The paradox of choice and how more can be less
  • How too much information can negatively effect decision-making
  • Avoiding decision fatigue
  • The world of online dating in relation to Barry’s work
  • How chasing only the best job/school/product will make you unhappy
  • How “Good enough really is good enough.”
  • Matching individual differences with the correct environments
  • The role of dopamine in introversion vs. extroversion
  • How parenting styles may form our heuristic styles
  • The grass is greener syndrome
  • The importance of control and autonomy to the human psyche
  • How constraints on choice can be beneficial to creativity
  • Clinical applications for Schwartz’s work on depression

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Resources: 

“Barry Schwartz is the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action in the psychology department at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where he has taught for thirty years. He is the author of several leading textbooks on the psychology of learning and memory, as well as a penetrating look at contemporary life, The Battle for Human Nature: Science, Morality, and Modern Life. Dr. Schwartz is married and has two children.” -Blurb taken from Amazon.com


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