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Choice overload interferes early processing and necessitates late compensation: evidence from electroencephalogram
  • Xinye Hu,
  • Zong Meng,
  • Qinghua He
Xinye Hu
Southwest University
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Zong Meng
Beijing Normal University
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Qinghua He
Southwest University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Having a multitude of choices can be advantageous, yet an abundance of options can be detrimental to the decision-making process. Based on existing research, the present study combined electroencephalogram and self-reported methodologies to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of choice overload. Behavioral data suggested that an increase in the number of options led to negative evaluations and avoidance of choice tendencies, even in the absence of time pressure. Event-related potential results indicated that the large choice set interfered with the early visual process, as evidenced by the small P1 amplitude, and failed to attract more attentional resources in the early stage, as evidenced by the small amplitude of P2 and N2. However, the LPC amplitude was increased in the late stage, suggesting greater investment of attentional resources and higher emotional arousal. Multivariate pattern analysis revealed that the difference between small and large choice set began at around 120ms and the early and late stages were characterized by opposite activation patterns. This suggested that too many options interfered with early processing and necessitate continued processing at a later stage. In summary, both behavioral and ERP results confirm the choice overload effect, and it was observed that individuals tend to subjectively exaggerate the choice overload effect.