Why So Many People Can’t Make Decisions

Interesting article in the WSJ Health Section,  I wonder how the type of decision factors into this (structured versus ill-structured problems, logical decision making—where goals and alternatives are made explicit—versus judgmental …)

Whether people see the world as black and white or shades of gray affects their path in life, from jobs and relationships to which political candidate they vote for, researchers say. People who often have conflicting feelings about situations—the shades-of-gray thinkers—have more of what psychologists call ambivalence, while those who tend toward unequivocal views have less ambivalence.

High ambivalence may be useful in some situations, and low ambivalence in others, researchers say. And although people don't fall neatly into one camp or the other, in general, individuals who tend toward ambivalence do so fairly consistently across different areas of their lives. …

If there isn't an easy answer, ambivalent people, more than black-and-white thinkers, are likely to procrastinate and avoid making a choice, for instance about whether to take a new job, says Dr. Harreveld. 


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