American’s depend on a story with limitless choice. Not so much for much of the rest of the world. This cultural difference is one of many which impacts the ability of people to connect effectively across cultures.  This TED Talk may push you to ask more questions than feel the assurance of answers and if you’re okay with that and have half an hour to listen to an engaging presentation from the July 2010 TED TALKS, then I encourage you to click PLAY.

Here is the text provided by TED about this video: Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

I find myself needing to listen to this more than once — first, to grow in my understanding of the reality that our assumptions about choice are not universal but are cultural. This is a great lesson as I continue to grow in my ability to navigate a diverse world.

Then, as I get beyond that aspect of the presentation, I am challenged to consider further the premise. The deeper message. I’m still sorting out what that is, actually.

If you do listen, be sure to “stay tuned” for the post lecture comments about pink nail polish. Good stuff.

2 thoughts on “Choice

  1. antlike says:

    OK, I’ll listen intently when I get home after work, but right now I want a Coke…no vending machines here. Why do you keep suggesting these food choices, Ruth! (Why do I keep seeing the food in your writing?)

  2. antlike says:

    OK, at home I listened AND had a Coke, finally. 🙂

    Fascinating studies about choice. I saw firsthand some of what Sheena studied in different cultures. In the nomadic villages where we lived, all decided everything by consensus, taking a long time. When a plane medivaced me out for serious illness, this offended Gonge’s because I did not discuss the pros and cons with the village and especially with her, my friend.

    Today, caring for my mom with Alzheimer’s and Jim’s dad with strokes who sometimes calls Jim “Uncle Alvin” (who has been dead several years), the subject of personal choice comes up often whether it’s driving, treatments, walking with or without a cane. Older Americans insist on peronal choice, even when they do not possess adequate congintion. Individual choice goes clean to the core.

    For me, Sheena’s most fascinating result showed that children actually performed better on the same test depening on whether the choice was theirs or not, from culture to culture.

    It made me wonder. Apart from and above culture, should you and I not want to learn what is pleasing to the Lord and do our best when we know we are working for His Kingdom and His purposes?

    You gave us something worth listening to more than once, for sure, Ruth!

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