The Jam Experiment Manga: Is Having More Choices Better?

Picture of a jar of jam with the title "Is having more choices better? (the jam experiment)."

Is having more choices always better? In the year 2000, two researchers (Sheena Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper) did an experiment to find out. The results are very surprising!

In the year 2000, researchers from two universities did an experiment.

Sheena S. Iyengar of Columbia University & Mark R. Lepper of Stanford University

They wanted to see if people liked having more choices (24 kinds of jam)... or less (6 kinds of jam).
They were at the supermarket for five hours each. 

Day 1 
"Hi. Want some jam?"
(24 types of JAM)

Day 2
"Jam for sale!"
(6 types of JAM)

They checked how many people passed by... 
how many people stopped to look at the jam... 
and how many people bought the jam.

"I'll take two."
"Here you go."
When they had 24 types of jam, 242 people passed the display, 60% of them stopped to look, and only 3% bought the jam.
When they had 6 types of jam, 368 people passed the display (YAWN), and 40% of them stopped to look.

But 30% bought the jam!!
Researchers have done similar experiments many times... (snacks, soft drinks, retirement investment options) with the same results (more choices, less sales).

This is called "choice overload." 
"AHHHHH! I don't know which to choose... Therefore, I will choose NOTHING!!!"
We also get tired when we have to make too many choices. 

8 AM (1st choice of the day) HP MAX
"What should I wear to school today?" 

3 PM (11,143rd choice) HP 60%
"Should I play with my friends or go home and study?"

8 PM (21,132rd choice) HP 20%
"Is this dance move better? Or is the other one better?"

That's why some famous people like:
Barack Obama (former U.S. president), Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple), and Mark Zuckerberg (C.E.O. of Facebook) only had one or two everyday outfits (a suit, a white dress shirt, and a blue or red tie)... to limit their number of choices in a day (a black turtleneck, a gray t-shirt, a hoodie, jeans).
Other experiments show that more choices... 

"30 different types of jeans? Wow..."
"Did I choose the right one? Should I Have gotten something else?"

equals less satisfaction, too.

How about you?
Do you prefer to have more choices or less?
Do you ever get tired from making too many choices?
Are you always satisfied with the choices you make?

Note: The English in the top right panel says “equals less satisfaction, too.” Sorry it is hard to read!

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にほんブログ村 英語ブログへ
Little orange guy as an avocado pit.

Want to learn more about the study in video form? One of the researchers, Sheena Iyengar, has a video out called “Jam Study”:

She also wrote a book called The Art of Choosing.


1. Sheena S. Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper 2000, UW Faculty Web Server, accessed 15 January 2021, <chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/>
2. Barry Schwartz 2006, Harvard Business Review, accessed 15 January 2021, <>
3. 2021,, accessed 15 January 2021, <>
4. Drake Baer 2015, Business Insider, accessed 15 January 2021, <>

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