Supportive Relationships Affect How People Make Decisions

C. Price
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The quality of our relationships impacts the way we make non-relationship choices in our lives, according to a new study.

Researchers took three sets of study participants and determined how many options they felt they needed in order to make a wise decision.

The first group of participants, the control group, was asked to sit down and write about something entirely unrelated to the relationships in their life.

The second group of participants was asked to write about the unsupportive relationships in their life, while the third group was asked to write about their supportive relationships.

After completing a couple minutes of writing, participants were asked to choose a cell phone they would (hypothetically) like to buy.

Participants were told they could either let the cell phone company choose their phone for them or, for an increasing fee, they could have more product options to make their selection from.


“Supportive relationships reduce anxiety

and increase an overall sense of security.”

Participants could pay an extra $5 to choose between three models, they could pay $10 extra to choose from six models, or they could spend an additional $15 and pick from nine models.

Participants who wrote about something other than their relationships often paid as much as possible to receive the maximum number of choices.

Participants who wrote about their unsupportive relationships also paid the most to maximize their choices.

Participants who were set up to feel supported in their relationships were far more likely to either let the phone company choose for them or pay less than the maximum to receive a small number of choices.

Researchers stated these findings fall in line with expectations that supportive relationships reduce anxiety and increase an overall sense of security, making individuals feel more comfortable with the other decisions in their life, while having unsupportive relationships feels the same as having no relationships and reduces an individual’s confidence in their decision-making process.

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