To increase engagement, offer less: The effect of assortment size on children’s engagement

Michal Maimaran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In a world that offers children abundant activities from which to choose, understanding how to motivate children to engage longer in productive activities is crucial. This paper examines how the offered assortment size affects children’s engagement with their chosen option. In the first study, I show children prefer to choose from a larger set even though they think doing so is more difficult. Then, in Studies 2 and 3, four- to five-year-old children choose from either a small set (two options) or a large set (six or seven options). In study 2, children choose a book to look at and I measure how long they look at it. In Study 3, children choose a game to play with and I measure how long they play. Children spend more time looking at the book and playing with the game they choose from the small versus the large set. By contrast, the size of the choice set does not affect food consumption. Such findings contribute to our understanding of young children’s decision-making and have important implications for determining the optimal assortment size to offer children to increase engagement with desirable activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Assortment size
  • Children
  • Choice behavior
  • Decision-making
  • Engagement
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'To increase engagement, offer less: The effect of assortment size on children’s engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this