Red pill or blue bill: Who cares? Getting to choose is the best part

National Post:

Life is about making choices, from the mundane (Should I eat a Kit Kat for breakfast?) to the momentous (Should I accept this new job?).

Though we agonize over some decisions, researchers have found that we generally like having choices. And after we choose something, we tend to like it more.

However, a new study examining the experience of choice, suggests that it’s not just about the selections — it’s about the selecting. Simply having the possibility to choose is pleasurable.

Researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, studied individuals who were presented with the opportunity to make choices and found that the mere anticipation of choice activated areas of the brain associated with rewards.

“I’ve been studying how the brain processes reward information for a while now. Throughout these experiments, we always noticed that people get excited when they perceive that the rewards were contingent on their behaviours,” says Mauricio Delgado, assistant professor of psychology and co-author on the study. The findings will be published in the journal Psychological Science. “As you can imagine, if you think you can do something to improve your situation, you’re going to get more motivated.”

Read the whole story: National Post

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