Weighing the options
BY 润羽 from 21st Century
Published 2014-12-03


Making decisions when shopping is often a tough call. Even if you’re satisfied with the first dress you try on, would you go on looking for alternatives, comparing styles and prices, until you literally dropped dead?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal column, psychology researchers have studied how people make decisions and concluded there are two basic styles. “Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options — sometimes every possible one — before choosing. “Satisficers” (combination of the word “satisfice” and “satisfy”) would rather be fast than thorough.
据《华尔街日报》日前一专栏报道:心理研究人员对人们作出决定的过程进行了研究,并将其总结成两种基本风格:一是愿意花时间对各种选择进行考虑的“最大化者”,二是不求全面只求速度的 “满足者”。英文中,Satisficers (满足者)一词由satisfice(为取得某一目标不惜最低要求)与satisfy(满足)组合而成。

“Maximizers are people who want the best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,” Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and the author of The Paradox of Choice told The Wall Street Journal.

In a study published in 2006 in the journal Psychological Science, Schwartz and his colleagues followed 548 job-seeking college seniors at 11 schools from October through their graduation in June. They found that the maximizers landed better jobs. Their starting salaries were, on average, 20 percent higher than those of the satisficers, but they felt worse about their jobs.

No right choice

“The maximizer is kicking himself because he can’t examine every option and at some point had to just pick something,” Schwartz says. “Maximizers make good decisions and end up feeling bad about them. Satisficers make good decisions and end up feeling good.”

Satisficers also have high standards, but they are happier than maximizers, he says. Maximizers tend to be more depressed and to report a lower satisfaction with life, his research found.

Faced with so many choices in our lives, we need to learn how not to waste time and energy on our decision-making, says Jane C. Hu in Slate online magazine.
Jane C. Hu在网络杂志Slate上说,在生活中,面对如此多的选择,我们需要学会如何在做决定上不浪费时间和精力。

First of all, Hu suggests, decrease your range of options. For instance, if you’re picking a restaurant for a lunch meeting, first deciding on a certain part of town or type of cuisine can narrow your options.

Once you’ve arrived at a decision, stick with it. Just accept that no decision is ever completely perfect, and remind yourself that it is the best you can do at the moment. To limit the number of options you can consider, you can set a self-imposed time limit for decision-making, Hu advises. Say you are buying a new bag, you could spend an amount of time studying features and optimizing price and value — “but if you give yourself only five minutes to make a decision, there are only these bags you can consider. You’ll save time, you’ll be happier with your decision, too”.
一旦做了决定,就坚持下去。没有一个决定是尽善尽美的,提醒自己这是你此时能做的最好选择。Hu还建议到,你也可以对自己做选择的时间做出限定,以减少自己需要考虑的选项。比如说你要买一个新的包包,你可以花相当多的时间来研究包包的特点,寻找最物美价廉的存在, “但是如果你只给自己五分钟的时间做决定,你就能考虑为数不多的几个包包。这样既节省了时间,也让你在做选择时心情更好。”

(Translator & Editor: 21英语Sara And Lang Xiuqiang)
Alternatives  选择的余地
Paradox of Choice  《选择的悖论》
Depressed  沮丧的
Cuisine  菜肴
Infinite  无限的
amount  数量