A phrase used to sum up the wavering and indecision that people feel when faced with an overabundance of choices, possibly due to not being able to keep all of the options equally in mind at once.

Examples:

  • People take much longer to order food from a very long menu than they do from a shorter one.

  • User interface designers typically estimate the useful limit of choices on web pages to be about seven -- if they offer people more than that in a single given context, they risk websurfers simply not choosing any.

  • People selling paint know that it will take homebuyers an eternity to choose which of the thousands of available paint colors to apply to their newly purchased home.

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