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Behav Processes. 2012 Jul;90(3):424-7. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.017. Epub 2012 Apr 6.

Discounting the freedom to choose: implications for the paradox of choice.

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Department of Applied Behavioral Science, University of Kansas, Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045-7555, United States.


Organisms prefer to make their own choices. However, emerging research from behavioral decision making sciences has demonstrated that there are boundaries to the preference for choice. Specifically, many decision makers find an extensive array of choice options to be aversive, often leading to negative emotional states and poor behavioral outcomes. This study examined the degree to which human participants discounted hypothetical rewards that were (a) delayed, (b) probabilistic, and (c) chosen from a large array of options. The present results suggest that the "paradox of choice" effect may be explained within a discounting model for individual patterns of decision making.

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