In a 2000 study, social psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper showed that when people are given the option of choosing among smaller and larger selections of jam, they show more interest in the larger assortment. But when it comes down to actually purchasing a jar, they're 10 times more likely to do so among six rather than among 24 flavors. In essence, researchers found that people are overwhelmed by too many choices.
So what does this have to do with your love life? Just replace the word "jam" and "jar" with "man" and presto, you have the possible underlying reason behind every urban dweller's perennial complaint about finding love in their respective cities. Ever wonder why people seem to get married so much younger in rural communities, as opposed to the notoriously frustrating dating scene in urban environs? Fewer options might be the answer.
Obviously, one explanation is that career-minded, jaded cynics are attracted to cities. But could it be that a high population density simply offers too many options in mates—to the point where achieving satisfaction is substantially more difficult? Well, we Love Buzzers don't exactly have cold, hard correlations, but it sure is interesting to think that a study about consumerism can speak volumes about human relationships. Here are two more food consumer studies that translate well into love lessons.
1. Tempted By the Fruit of Another? In 2007, USDA’s Economic Research Service dabbled in some food psychology to help people eat healthier. They determined that consumers who shopped for their groceries online were more likely to purchase healthy foods than those who did their shopping in-store. Why? Pre-ordering food allowed consumers to commit to their purchasing decisions without being tempted with less healthy food options. By shopping in-store, you are easy prey for those Toblerones taunting you in the checkout lane. The love lesson here is simple, one may be amazed at how easy "not cheating" is by simply avoiding too much face time with the temptation to begin with. Is Facebook Causing Us To Cheat?