Is Variety the Spice of Life? It All Depends on the Rate of Consumption

Judgment and Decision Making, Forthcoming

29 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2011

See all articles by Jeff Galak

Jeff Galak

Carnegie Mellon University

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New York University (NYU); New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

George Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Date Written: March 25, 2011

Abstract

Is variety of the spice of life? The present research suggests that the answer depends on the rate of consumption. In three experiments, we find that, whereas a variety of stimuli is preferred to repetition of even a better-liked single stimulus when consumption is continuous, this preference reverses when the fatigue associated with repetition is reduced by slowing down the rate of consumption. Decision makers, however, seem to under-appreciate the influence of consumption rate on preference for (and satisfaction with) variety. At high rates of consumption, they correctly anticipate their own, high, desire for variety, but at low rates of consumption people tend to overestimate their own desire for variety. These results complicate the picture presented by prior research on the “diversification bias,” suggesting that people overestimate their own desire for variety only when consumption is spaced out over time.

Keywords: variety, decision making,diversification bias, enjoyment

Suggested Citation

Galak, Jeff and Kruger, Justin and Loewenstein, George F., Is Variety the Spice of Life? It All Depends on the Rate of Consumption (March 25, 2011). Judgment and Decision Making, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1795280

Jeff Galak (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

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Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

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New York University (NYU) ( email )

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George F. Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

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United States
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412-268-6938 (Fax)

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