It’s a Friday night, you’re tucked in and comfortable, the laptop is open and you’re ready to start your weekend and give yourself that much needed Netflix binge watch. You open up your Netflix window and the familiar interface brings you joy, you’re ready to find something to watch. You start scrolling, reading plot synopses, watching trailers – you know you’re in the mood for something good, you’re still scrolling and then you realize that 30 minutes have passed. You still haven’t decided what to watch and now you’re frustrated because you’ve wasted enough time to have finished a FRIENDS episode by now.
Well you’re not the only one!
Psychologists call this the “The Paradox of Choice” or the “Netflix Choice Paralysis” which essentially means that when presented with too many choices, you’ll end up making no choice at all because you’ve set extremely high expectations on that one choice based on their being a lot of options. A professor at Columbia University in a famous study explored this phenomenon where she set a table of jars in a supermarket. There were 24 options to choose from initially, she later reduced this to 6 and studied the behavior of customers in both situations. Basically, people who were given 24 choices were much much less likely to purchase the jams as opposed to people who had few choices.
This tells us something very interesting about us in an age where we’re loaded with options, from Netflix to foodpanda to daraz – we have more and more choice. We’re also overloaded with information and content in various forms and genres. Time is an important resource and if we really want to benefit from how we’re using these apps, we ought to understand how technology is changing our behaviors and what that means for our future. We also need to realize that technology is really great at picking up our patterns and that’s not necessarily a good thing every time!
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