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NPR Health

Are We Happier When We Have More Options?

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Barry Schwartz's TEDTalk

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

About Barry Schwartz

The more options there are, the easier it is to regret.

Barry Schwartz is a professor at Swarthmore College. He studies the link between economics and psychology. In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice, Schwartz wonders why is it that societies of great abundance — where individuals are offered more freedom and choice are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression. Conventional wisdom says that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today's western world is actually making us miserable.

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