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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Columbia Prof To Discuss Good, Bad Aspects of Choice at NJIT March 23 Talk

Sheena Iyengar, PhD

In the NJIT Technology and Society Forum presentation on March 23, 2011 in the Campus Center Ballroom at 2:30 p.m., Columbia University Professor Sheena Iyengar will address the psychological and cultural challenges of choice, and suggest answers drawn from her discipline-spanning research. 

Her talk, “The Obligation To Choose” will explore the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always complement the other. Iyengar will explain how too much choice can overwhelm individuals and how choices are shaped by forces both obvious and subtle.

The public is invited to attend this free event.

Iyengar believes that choice is a powerful force in peoples’ lives, allowing them to assert control and express individuality. Choice enables one to go from who one is today to whom one wants to be tomorrow. No wonder, then, that people tend to think of choice as an unqualified good. Yet research has shown that when individuals are faced with a large number of options or with particularly difficult decisions, the experience of choosing is often unpleasant, even traumatic.

Iyengar is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, with a joint appointment in the department of psychology, and research director at the Jerome A. Chazzan Institute of International Business. Iyengar’s research into how people perceive and respond to choice has garnered honors that include the Best Dissertation Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology in 1998 and the Presidential Early Career Award in 2002.

Popular media such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time magazines, the BBC and National Public Radio regularly cite Iyengar’s work. She recently presented her insights into the complexities of choices we make each day in her first book, The Art of Choosing.

Rescheduled from last October, Iyengar is also coming to NJIT in March as the 2011 Lillian Gilbreth Colloquium speaker. In 1997, the NJIT Murray Center for Women in Technology established an annual colloquium during Women’s History Month in honor of industrial engineer Lillian Moller Gilbreth, PhD (1878-1972), one of the pioneering systems thinkers of the 20th century. An expert in motion studies, Gilbreth refocused the attention of engineers on the human element in work. Her 1911 book The Psychology of Management is the foundation on which modern industrial management theory and practice is built. In the 1940s, Gilbreth became the first female professor to teach at Newark College of Engineering.

For more information about the event, contact Jay Kappraff, kappraff@adm.njit.edu or 973-596-3490. Visit the NJIT Technology and Society Forum on the Web at http://tsf.njit.edu.  Previous Forum presentations are available at http://itunes.njit.edu; search for “Technology and Society Forum.”

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.