The freedom to choose is one of the highest values in a consumerist society, but a host of researchers who study choice are suggesting it is a doubtful value. The greater number of choices we have, the more paralyzed we become in making those choices. Needing to choose can itself become a source of anxiety. When we finally make a choice, we often operate more on the basis of a whim, subconscious instincts, or cultural norms rather than on reason and information. Our uncertainties about choice are manipulated to the advantage of marketers. The poor are often left out of considerations about choice, since their options are severely limited (Nation, June 3).