Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael Beran


The paradox of choice leads one to desire more options over fewer options even when there are negative consequences when choosing from larger arrays (choice overload). The paradox of choice may be shared among mammals or it could result from cultural influences relevant to humans. Research with monkeys and young children sheds light on the developmental precursors of the paradox and may highlight the human-uniqueness of this effect. I tested young children (41.5–66.0 months) and monkeys (tufted capuchins, rhesus macaques) to examine choice overload effects. Limited evidence was found that children exhibited choice overload when choosing among six and twelve toys but not when choosing among three toys. No evidence of choice overload was found for monkeys, although this may be due to methodological limitations. Consistent with previous literature on choice and control, monkeys also demonstrated a preference for more options over fewer.


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