We all want to make an educated decision whenever possible. But, as Psychology Today points out, the more we learn, the harder it is to make a decision. In fact, we might actually make worse decisions when we have more information.
Photo by Clean Wal-Mart.
First off, we're very good at overvaluing things that don't matter, and we want to fill in gaps of information with something, even if it's not important:
The human mind hates uncertainty. Uncertainty implies volatility, randomness, and danger. When we notice information is missing, our brain raises a metaphorical red flag and says, "Pay attention. This could be important..." When data is missing, we overestimate its value. Our mind assumes that since we are expending resources locating information, it must be useful.
Psychology Today even suggests that we might simply love researching things. So, when we're making a tough choice, we dig into all the different options because we love the release of dopamine we get when we learn. There's also evidence that when dopamine is released when we're stressed, it may decrease working memory, which makes decisions even tougher because we're not thinking straight.
We know that making simple choices all day zaps your willpower, and that often you simply need to recognise when a choice is reversible and just make it. More often than not, you can simply ask yourself, "does this decision matter?" If the answer is no, stop researching the 30 different options you have, make the choice and move on.
Why Too Much Data Disables Your Decision Making [Psychology Today]