Decode Your Decision-Making Style

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The following questions were developed by Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz to help determine if a person is a “maximizer” or a “satisficer” in the way he or she approaches decision-making.

Answer each question below on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 7 being “strongly agree:”

  1. No matter how satisfied I am with my job, it’s only right for me to be on the lookout for other opportunities.
  2. When I am in the car listening to the radio, I often check other stations to see if something better is playing, even if I am relatively satisfied with what I am listening to.
  3. When I watch TV, I channel surf, often scanning through the available options even while attempting to watch one program.
  4. I treat relationships like clothing: I expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit.
  5. I often find it difficult to shop for a gift for a friend.
  6. Renting videos is really difficult. I’m always struggling to pick the best one.
  7. When shopping, I have a hard time finding clothing that I really love.
  8. I’m a big fan of lists that attempt to rank things (the best movies, the best singers, the best athletes, the best novels, etc.).
  9. I find that writing is very difficult, even if it’s just writing a letter to a friend, because it’s so hard to word things just right. I often do several drafts of even simple things.
  10. I never settle for second best.
  11. Whenever I’m faced with a choice, I try to imagine what all the other possibilities are, even ones that aren’t present at the moment.
  12. I often fantasize about living in ways that are quite different from my actual life.
  13. No matter what I do, I have the highest standards for myself.

If your score is close to 13, you exhibit satisficer traits; if it is close to 91, you are more of a maximizer. Most people fall somewhere in between! 

Please see for the full article on decision-making that is associated with this test.


Source: Schwartz, B., Ward, A., Monterosso, J., Lyubomirsky, S., White, K., & Lehman, D. R. (2002). Maximizing versus satisficing: Happiness is a matter of choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1178-1197