playlist

How we make choices

Talks on why some choices are so tough, and how we can make better ones. Some even ask: are we really in control of our choices at all?

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  1. 19:37
    Barry Schwartz The paradox of choice

    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.

  2. 17:26
    Dan Ariely Are we in control of our own decisions?

    Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions.

  3. 14:41
    Ruth Chang How to make hard choices

    Here's a talk that could literally change your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Big decisions like these can be agonizingly difficult. But that's because we think about them the wrong way, says philosopher Ruth Chang. She offers a powerful new framework for shaping who we truly are.

  4. 9:47
    Baba Shiv Sometimes it's good to give up the driver's seat

    Over the years, research has shown a counterintuitive fact about human nature: Sometimes, having too much choice makes us less happy. This may even be true when it comes to medical treatment. Baba Shiv shares a fascinating study that measures why choice opens the door to doubt, and suggests that ceding control — especially on life-or-death decisions — may be the best thing for us.

  5. 24:08
    Sheena Iyengar The art of choosing

    Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

  6. 33:38
    Dan Gilbert Why we make bad decisions

    Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness — sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A with some familiar TED faces.

  7. 17:30
    Malcolm Gladwell Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce

    "Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

  8. 15:02
    Renata Salecl Our unhealthy obsession with choice

    We face an endless string of choices, which leads us to feel anxiety, guilt and pangs of inadequacy that we are perhaps making the wrong ones. But philosopher Renata Salecl asks: Could individual choices be distracting us from something bigger—our power as social thinkers? A bold call for us to stop taking personal choice so seriously and focus on the choices we're making collectively.