想象你刚刚申请了一个号码different schools or that you interviewed for a number of jobs. You hear back that you got two of your top choices. Think about how happy this would make you and how wonderful it is to have these options. Now think about the dilemma you're faced with in choosing between those two great options. Chances are that you're less excited, and possibly even anxious, when thinking about having to make this choice. You may even wonder if you'd been better off only having one great option instead.

It's true that anxiety can arise from dread over the possibility of bodily harm, a negative evaluation, or anupcoming presentation。然而,它也可以在更似乎良好的良性情况下出现,例如选择两家伟大的餐馆上哪一个去吃晚餐。在这种情况下偶尔的焦虑经历特别有趣,因为它经常与有关选项的积极情绪相吻合。



For our学习, we had people come into the lab and make choices while they were lying in an MRI scanner. We presented them with two items and told them they can only take one item home with them. Here's a little secret: we knew how much the participant liked each product individually (based on an earlier task they performed) and we used that information to make some of these choices seem like a win-win situation for them. After they made their choices, our participants told us how they had felt while making their decision.

More Choices isn't Always Better



Making the Decision Process Less Stressful


While there is no surefire way to ensure that you won't experience anxiety when making a difficult choice, the findings from our study and others points to a few suggestions to consider when you are faced with win-win choices yourself:

  1. Set reasonable priorities:降低决策复杂性的一种方法是避免为您的决定提供太高的目标。而不是尝试选择最适合您的选项(被称为“最大化”),尝试找到满足您最重要的标准的第一个选项,并让足够的(被称为“满意“)。前面的心理学家Barry Schwartz的研究以及我们自己的研究表明,当面临双赢的选择时,通常使用后一种策略的人往往会受到更少的焦虑。
  2. 避免重新审视您的决定一旦制作:选择焦虑可以通过遗憾可以增强,我们有或预期在做出选择之后。Once you make a choice, avoid thinking about whether you should have made a different choice (based on how good your life would have been with the other option) unless and until it seems like you might actually be unhappy with the option you chose.
  3. 记住积极的:Anxiety may be more closely associated with the act of choosing rather than with the simple imagining of good options. That's bad news for the selection process, but not necessarily for the act of imagining. Even if you can't have all of your options, remember that having the choice between two great things is still a积极的机会。Allow yourself to savor this experience and don't take it for granted.

Anxiety is such a common experience, it's extremely important to continue learning about the psychological and neural mechanisms that produce it in everyday situations. While the above tips can be helpful, their effectiveness still needs to be validated through further research. We hope that our future work will inform this question of how to make this choice process less anxiety-provoking, as well as what it is that draws us to win-win choices in the first place.

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