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Decision making and over-thinkingFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

There is an assumption that the more information you have, the better the decision you can make. However, is this necessarily true all of the time? Research suggests that we sometimes over-think, leading to our making decisions that in fact go against what our intuition tells us. In this unique science fair project, you will observe how participants make a decision. One group will be provided with an expert opinion before making a decision, while the second group will be given the same information; however, they will have to justify their final decision.

Objective

Determine if additional information affects the decision making process, and whether such effects are negated when the participant's choice has to be justified.

Scientific Terms

Over think, Decision making, Persuasion

Background

Some research has been promulgated to challenge the idea that the more information we have, the better the choice we make. While it is true that information helps making better decisions, too much information may however, lead us to make decisions that are not based on critical thinking.

Past research has been conducted on how consumers make decisions when presented with a wide variety of choices, versus a limited number of choices. Other studies have included test-tasting a product, such as breakfast jam. When told beforehand that a certain brand of jam has received the highest ratings based on a consumer report, subjects often allow this information to influence their choice of product.

This science fair project will be a modification of the jam experiment - in that you will be testing three groups of participants. The first group will have to make a product selection based solely on their preferences. The second group will be offered an expert opinion before they make their selection, and the third group will be treated the same as the second group, only that they will have to justify their final decision.

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