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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Too Much Information 
8th-Oct-2009 09:02 am
Inspiration
As mentioned before, lengthy disclosures degrade, rather than improve decision making.

Today's example: New York City's new law requiring calorie counts on chain restaurant menu boards.

Did it make a difference in what people ordered?

.... only about half the respondents even noticed the calorie counts and only 15% said they influenced their choice. But the receipts told an even more dismal story: overall, people actually purchased more calories after the law went into effect.




The full study correctly notes that the increases were not statistically significant: so a correct report should properly say that the disclosures had "no effect" rather than a "bad effect".
Comments 
8th-Oct-2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know. Sometimes I want what I want, and I order it; sometimes I have indeed been deterred by looking at just how many calories.

The part where it plays a decision is when I'm equally tempted by two different things, if I see that one is healthier, I'll have that.

Also, the nutrition facts in my experience, while on the menu boards, are not in the same exact place as the thing with the prices and stuff, and a lot of people just don't look at it.
10th-Oct-2009 12:05 am (UTC)
I note that it generally goes with a view of human nature that regards us as purely rational. Having spent time around people that prided themselves on their pure rationality, I am a little unwilling to grant that as a goal: the experience of pettiness, power-mania, and self-righteousness tends to turn me off to their professed goal.
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