People More Likely to Defer Making Decisions the Longer They Wait

Would you rather eat an apple or a banana? Read Moby Dick or A Tale of Two Cities? Is a cup or a mug holding that coffee?

How quickly the decision gets made matters. That’s because the longer someone takes to draw a conclusion, the more likely that person will disengage from the process altogether and simply never decide.

This phenomenon is called choice deferral, and it’s the topic of a new paper published in Cognitive Psychology by Sudeep Bhatia, an assistant professor of psychology, in collaboration with Timothy Mullett of the University of Warwick. They found that, on average, if more than 3.5 seconds passes without a decision happening, none will likely occur for the choice at hand.

“You can imagine that, if you’re going to buy a car, you’re going to spend more than three and a half seconds,” says Bhatia. “This parameter would vary based on the importance of the choice or even based on the setting. A person who only had a single choice would probably spend a little more time on it.”

Click here to read the full article.

Arts & Sciences News

Navigating Urban Waters, With an Interdisciplinary Approach

In a research-based fellowship program this summer, a group of Penn graduate and undergraduate students are creating new narratives of their own, tied to water.

View Article >
Cancer Cells Send Out ‘Drones’ to Battle the Immune System From Afar

Researchers show that, to assist in the fight, cancer cells release biological “drones,” small vesicles called exosomes circulating in the blood and armed with the protein PD-L1, which causes T cells to tire before they have a chance to reach the tumor and do battle.

View Article >
Mary Frances Berry Discusses Her New Book “History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times”

In it, she shares her memories of being a protestor, provides an analysis of protest strategies, and highlights lessons from a lengthy history of fighting against injustice.

View Article >
Greening Vacant Lots Reduces Depression in City Dwellers

Revitalizing dilapidated environments may be an important, inexpensive tool to address mental health in urban communities.

View Article >
Martha Farah Elected to Prestigious British Academy Fellowship

Martha Farah has been made a Fellow of the prestigious British Academy for the humanities and social sciences.

View Article >
A Physics Treasure Hidden in the Pattern of Wallpaper

A newly identified insulating material could one day enable more-efficient electronics or even quantum computing.

View Article >