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
Date Written: March 25, 2011
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
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