Indecision-Making: Science Helps Explain The Basis For Voluntary Consent

There’s an interesting Book Review in this morning’s New York Times on “The Art of Choosing” by Sherrna Iyengar. The study is based upon a famous “jam experiment” where shoppers were offered either six different jams to sample or thirty. Surprisingly, although more shoppers stopped by the table with more samples, ten times more sales were made at the table with the limited choices! The new study takes it a step further to look at the role of culture and religion in choice. Her findings reveal that Anglo college students respond most favorably when they have maximal choice, whereas Asian children performed better in response to a cue that they were instructed to do a particular task by their mothers! Significantly (for mediators, I thought), both groups resisted commands that were made by a stranger, third party. Ms. Iyengar’s findings also demonstrated that members of more fundamentalist faiths demonstrated more optimism than those without strict belief systems in a higher power. She discounts this finding by reminding readers that the study was conducted in the U.S., where members of a particular faith remain in that system by choice. A provocative study which informs some difficult mediations for me. Too many choices can lead to obstacles instead of opportunities. And finding those options which the parties themselves offer can be much more effective than the mediator’s proposal. Liberating and informative!

                        author

Jan Frankel Schau

Attorney Jan Frankel Schau is a highly skilled neutral, engaged in full-time dispute resolution. Following a successful career spanning two decades in litigation, she has mediated over 700 cases for satisfied clients. Ms. Schau understands the nuances of trial and settlement practice as well as client relations and balancing the… MORE >

Featured Mediators

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

The Need for a Paradigm Shift for Transforming Relational Conflict

  From court-centric to family-centric ADR This paper provides a brief overview of mediation with a focus on clients’ self-determinism in family mediation or family dispute resolution (FDR) and Ontario...

By Laura Tarcea
Category

Commercial Mediation Survey

Over the last couple of months I have polled, in a fairly unscientific way, some busy commercial litigators who I know to integrate mediation into their practice rather than simply...

By Geoff Sharp
Category

A New Precedent with Paradigmatic Importance: The Geneva Accord

Whatever one thinks of the substance of the recently released Geneva Accord, which unofficially seeks to comprehensively deal with the Israeli Palestinian conflict, is frankly irrelevant. In fact, whether this...

By Joshua N. Weiss

Find a Mediator

X
X
X