- 历年考题 （800道）
- 历年考题 （800道）
- 历年考题 （800道）
- 历年考题 （800道）
- 历年考题 （800道）
Today, I'm going to take you around theworld in 18 minutes. My base of operations is in the U.S., but let's start atthe other end of the map, in Kyoto, Japan, where I was living with a Japanesefamily while I was doing part of my dissertational research 15 years ago. Iknew even then that I would encounter cultural differences andmisunderstandings, but they popped up when I least expected it.
On my first day, I went to a restaurant,and I ordered a cup of green tea with sugar. After a pause, the waiter said,"One does not put sugar in green tea." "I know," I said."I'm aware of this custom. But I really like my tea sweet." Inresponse, he gave me an even more courteous version of the same explanation. "Onedoes not put sugar in green tea." "I understand," I said,"that the Japanese do not put sugar in their green tea, but I'd like toput some sugar in my green tea." (Laughter) Surprised by my insistence,the waiter took up the issue with the manager. Pretty soon, a lengthydiscussion ensued, and finally the manager came over to me and said, "I amvery sorry. We do not have sugar." (Laughter) Well, since I couldn't havemy tea the way I wanted it, I ordered a cup of coffee, which the waiter broughtover promptly. Resting on the saucer were two packets of sugar.
My failure to procure myself a cup ofsweet, green tea was not due to a simple misunderstanding. This was due to afundamental difference in our ideas about choice. From my American perspective,when a paying customer makes a reasonable request based on her preferences, shehas every right to have that request met. The American way, to quote BurgerKing, is to "have it your way," because, as Starbucks says,"happiness is in your choices." (Laughter) But from the Japanese perspective,it's their duty to protect those who don't know any better -- (Laughter) inthis case, the ignorant gaijin -- from making the wrong choice. Let's face it:the way I wanted my tea was inappropriate according to cultural standards, andthey were doing their best to help me save face.
Americans tend to believe that they'vereached some sort of pinnacle in the way they practice choice. They think thatchoice, as seen through the American lens best fulfills an innate and universaldesire for choice in all humans. Unfortunately, these beliefs are based onassumptions that don't always hold true in many countries, in many cultures. Attimes they don't even hold true at America's own borders. I'd like to discusssome of these assumptions and the problems associated with them. As I do so, Ihope you'll start thinking about some of your own assumptions and how they wereshaped by your backgrounds.
First assumption: if a choice affects you,then you should be the one to make it. This is the only way to ensure that yourpreferences and interests will be most fully accounted for. It is essential forsuccess. In America, the primary locus of choice is the individual. People mustchoose for themselves, sometimes sticking to their guns, regardless of whatother people want or recommend. It's called "being true to yourself."But do all individuals benefit from taking such an approach to choice? MarkLepper and I did a series of studies in which we sought the answer to this veryquestion. In one study, which we ran in Japan town, San Francisco, we broughtseven- to nine-year-old Anglo- and Asian-American children into the laboratory,and we divided them up into three groups.
The first group came in, and they weregreeted by Miss Smith, who showed them six big piles of anagram puzzles. Thekids got to choose which pile of anagrams they would like to do, and they evengot to choose which marker they would write their answers with. When the secondgroup of children came in, they were brought to the same room, shown the sameanagrams, but this time Miss Smith told them which anagrams to do and whichmarkers to write their answers with. Now when the third group came in, theywere told that their anagrams and their markers had been chosen by theirmothers. (Laughter) In reality, the kids who were told what to do, whether byMiss Smith or their mothers, were actually given the very same activity, whichtheir counterparts in the first group had freely chosen.
With this procedure, we were able to ensurethat the kids across the three groups all did the same activity, making iteasier for us to compare performance. Such small differences in the way weadministered the activity yielded striking differences in how well theyperformed. Anglo-Americans, they did two and a half times more anagrams whenthey got to choose them, as compared to when it was chosen for them by MissSmith or their mothers. It didn't matter who did the choosing, if the task wasdictated by another, their performance suffered. In fact, some of the kids werevisibly embarrassed when they were told that their mothers had been consulted.(Laughter) One girl named Mary said, "You asked my mother?"
In contrast, Asian-American childrenperformed best when they believed their mothers had made the choice, secondbest when they chose for themselves, and least well when it had been chosen byMiss Smith. A girl named Natsumi even approached Miss Smith as she was leavingthe room and tugged on her skirt and asked, "Could you please tell mymommy I did it just like she said?" The first-generation children werestrongly influenced by their immigrant parents' approach to choice. For them,choice was not just a way of defining and asserting their individuality, but away to create community and harmony by deferring to the choices of people whomthey trusted and respected. If they had a concept of being true to one's self,then that self, most likely, [was] composed, not of an individual, but of acollective. Success was just as much about pleasing key figures as it was aboutsatisfying one's own preferences. Or, you could say that the individual'spreferences were shaped by the preferences of specific others.
The assumption then that we do best whenthe individual self chooses only holds when that self is clearly divided fromothers. When, in contrast, two or more individuals see their choices and theiroutcomes as intimately connected, then they may amplify one another's successby turning choosing into a collective act. To insist that they chooseindependently might actually compromise both their performance and theirrelationships. Yet that is exactly what the American paradigm demands. Itleaves little room for interdependence or an acknowledgment of individualfallibility. It requires that everyone treat choice as a private andself-defining act. People that have grown up in such a paradigm might find itmotivating, but it is a mistake to assume that everyone thrives under thepressure of choosing alone.
The second assumption which informs theAmerican view of choice goes something like this. The more choices you have,the more likely you are to make the best choice. So bring it on, Walmart, with100,000 different products, and Amazon, with 27 million books and Match.comwith -- what is it? -- 15 million date possibilities now. You will surely findthe perfect match. Let's test this assumption by heading over to EasternEurope. Here, I interviewed people who were residents of formerly communistcountries, who had all faced the challenge of transitioning to a moredemocratic and capitalistic society. One of the most interesting revelationscame not from an answer to a question, but from a simple gesture ofhospitality. When the participants arrived for their interview, I offered thema set of drinks: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite --seven, to be exact.
9:03During the very first session, whichwas run in Russia, one of the participants made a comment that really caught meoff guard. "Oh, but it doesn't matter. It's all just soda. That's just onechoice." (Murmuring) I was so struck by this comment that from then on, Istarted to offer all the participants those seven sodas, and I asked them,"How many choices are these?" Again and again, they perceived theseseven different sodas, not as seven choices, but as one choice: soda or nosoda. When I put out juice and water in addition to these seven sodas, now theyperceived it as only three choices -- juice, water and soda. Compare this tothe die-hard devotion of many Americans, not just to a particular flavor ofsoda, but to a particular brand. You know, research shows repeatedly that wecan't actually tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Of course, you and Iknow that Coke is the better choice.
For modern Americans who are exposed tomore options and more ads associated with options than anyone else in theworld, choice is just as much about who they are as it is about what theproduct is. Combine this with the assumption that more choices are alwaysbetter, and you have a group of people for whom every little difference mattersand so every choice matters. But for Eastern Europeans, the sudden availabilityof all these consumer products on the marketplace was a deluge. They wereflooded with choice before they could protest that they didn't know how toswim. When asked, "What words and images do you associate withchoice?" Grzegorz from Warsaw said, "Ah, for me it is fear. There aresome dilemmas you see. I am used to no choice." Bohdan from Kiev said, inresponse to how he felt about the new consumer marketplace, "It is toomuch. We do not need everything that is there." A sociologist from theWarsaw Survey Agency explained, "The older generation jumped from nothingto choice all around them. They were never given a chance to learn how toreact." And Tomasz, a young Polish man said, "I don't need twentykinds of chewing gum. I don't mean to say that I want no choice, but many ofthese choices are quite artificial."
In reality, many choices are between thingsthat are not that much different. The value of choice depends on our ability toperceive differences between the options. Americans train their whole lives toplay "spot the difference." They practice this from such an early agethat they've come to believe that everyone must be born with this ability. Infact, though all humans share a basic need and desire for choice, we don't allsee choice in the same places or to the same extent. When someone can't see howone choice is unlike another, or when there are too many choices to compare andcontrast, the process of choosing can be confusing and frustrating. Instead ofmaking better choices, we become overwhelmed by choice, sometimes even afraidof it. Choice no longer offers opportunities, but imposes constraints. It's nota marker of liberation, but of suffocation by meaningless minutiae. In otherwords, choice can develop into the very opposite of everything it represents inAmerica when it is thrust upon those who are insufficiently prepared for it.But it is not only other people in other places that are feeling the pressureof ever-increasing choice. Americans themselves are discovering that unlimitedchoice seems more attractive in theory than in practice.
We all have physical, mental and emotional(Laughter) limitations that make it impossible for us to process every singlechoice we encounter, even in the grocery store, let alone over the course ofour entire lives. A number of my studies have shown that when you give people10 or more options when they're making a choice, they make poorer decisions,whether it be health care, investment, other critical areas. Yet still, many ofus believe that we should make all our own choices and seek out even more of them.
This brings me to the third, and perhapsmost problematic, assumption: "You must never say no to choice." Toexamine this, let's go back to the U.S. and then hop across the pond to France.Right outside Chicago, a young couple, Susan and Daniel Mitchell, were about tohave their first baby. They'd already picked out a name for her, Barbara, afterher grandmother. One night, when Susan was seven months pregnant, she startedto experience contractions and was rushed to the emergency room. The baby wasdelivered through a C-section, but Barbara suffered cerebral anoxia, a loss ofoxygen to the brain. Unable to breathe on her own, she was put on a ventilator.Two days later, the doctors gave the Mitchells a choice: They could eitherremove Barbara off the life support, in which case she would die within amatter of hours, or they could keep her on life support, in which case shemight still die within a matter of days. If she survived, she would remain in apermanent vegetative state, never able to walk, talk or interact with others.What do they do? What do any parent do?
In a study I conducted with Simona Bottiand Kristina Orfali, American and French parents were interviewed. They had allsuffered the same tragedy. In all cases, the life support was removed, and theinfants had died. But there was a big difference. In France, the doctorsdecided whether and when the life support would be removed, while in the UnitedStates, the final decision rested with the parents. We wondered: does this havean effect on how the parents cope with the loss of their loved one? We foundthat it did. Even up to a year later, American parents were more likely toexpress negative emotions, as compared to their French counterparts. Frenchparents were more likely to say things like, "Noah was here for so littletime, but he taught us so much. He gave us a new perspective on life."
American parents were more likely to saythings like, "What if? What if?" Another parent complained, "Ifeel as if they purposefully tortured me. How did they get me to do that?"And another parent said, "I feel as if I've played a role in anexecution." But when the American parents were asked if they would ratherhave had the doctors make the decision, they all said, "No." Theycould not imagine turning that choice over to another, even though having madethat choice made them feel trapped, guilty, angry. In a number of cases theywere even clinically depressed. These parents could not contemplate giving upthe choice, because to do so would have gone contrary to everything they hadbeen taught and everything they had come to believe about the power and purposeof choice.
In her essay, "The White Album,"Joan Didion writes, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live. Weinterpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. Welive entirely by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, bythe idea with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria,which is our actual experience." The story Americans tell, the story uponwhich the American dream depends, is the story of limitless choice. Thisnarrative promises so much: freedom, happiness, success. It lays the world atyour feet and says, "You can have anything, everything." It's a greatstory, and it's understandable why they would be reluctant to revise it. Butwhen you take a close look, you start to see the holes, and you start to seethat the story can be told in many other ways.
Americans have so often tried todisseminate their ideas of choice, believing that they will be, or ought to be,welcomed with open hearts and minds. But the history books and the daily newstell us it doesn't always work out that way. The phantasmagoria, the actualexperience that we try to understand and organize through narrative, variesfrom place to place. No single narrative serves the needs of everyoneeverywhere. Moreover, Americans themselves could benefit from incorporating newperspectives into their own narrative, which has been driving their choices forso long.
Robert Frost once said that, "It ispoetry that is lost in translation." This suggests that whatever isbeautiful and moving, whatever gives us a new way to see, cannot becommunicated to those who speak a different language. But Joseph Brodsky saidthat, "It is poetry that is gained in translation," suggesting thattranslation can be a creative, transformative act. When it comes to choice, wehave far more to gain than to lose by engaging in the many translations of thenarratives. Instead of replacing one story with another, we can learn from andrevel in the many versions that exist and the many that have yet to be written.No matter where we're from and what your narrative is, we all have aresponsibility to open ourselves up to a wider array of what choice can do, andwhat it can represent. And this does not lead to a paralyzing moral relativism.Rather, it teaches us when and how to act. It brings us that much closer torealizing the full potential of choice, to inspiring the hope and achieving thefreedom that choice promises but doesn't always deliver. If we learn to speakto one another, albeit through translation, then we can begin to see choice inall its strangeness, complexity and compelling beauty.
Bruno Giussani: Thank you. Sheena, there isa detail about your biography that we have not written in the program book. Butby now it's evident to everyone in this room. You're blind. And I guess one ofthe questions on everybody's mind is: How does that influence your study ofchoosing because that's an activity that for most people is associated withvisual inputs like aesthetics and color and so on?
Sheena Iyengar: Well, it's funny that youshould ask that because one of the things that's interesting about being blindis you actually get a different vantage point when you observe the way sightedpeople make choices. And as you just mentioned, there's lots of choices outthere that are very visual these days. Yeah, I -- as you would expect -- getpretty frustrated by choices like what nail polish to put on because I have torely on what other people suggest. And I can't decide. And so one time I was ina beauty salon, and I was trying to decide between two very light shades ofpink. And one was called "Ballet Slippers." And the other one wascalled "Adorable." (Laughter) And so I asked these two ladies, andthe one lady told me, "Well, you should definitely wear 'BalletSlippers.'" "Well, what does it look like?" "Well, it's avery elegant shade of pink." "Okay, great." The other lady tellsme to wear "Adorable." "What does it look like?" "It'sa glamorous shade of pink." And so I asked them, "Well, how do I tellthem apart? What's different about them?" And they said, "Well, oneis elegant, the other one's glamorous. "Okay, we got that. And the onlything they had consensus on: well, if I could see them, I would clearly be ableto tell them apart.
And what I wondered was whether they werebeing affected by the name or the content of the color, so I decided to do alittle experiment. So I brought these two bottles of nail polish into thelaboratory, and I stripped the labels off. And I brought women into thelaboratory, and I asked them, "Which one would you pick?" 50 percentof the women accused me of playing a trick, of putting the same color nailpolish in both those bottles. (Laughter) (Applause) At which point you start towonder who the trick's really played on. Now, of the women that could tell themapart, when the labels were off, they picked "Adorable," and when thelabels were on, they picked "Ballet Slippers." So as far as I cantell, a rose by any other name probably does look different and maybe evensmells different.
BG: Thank you. Sheena Iyengar. Thank youSheena.