Does Time of Day Affect Variety-Seeking?
Posted: 17 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 26, 2018
Variety-seeking is a fundamental aspect of choice. But given circadian rhythms in chronobiology, might variety-seeking vary by time of day? Four studies, including an empirical analysis of millions of purchases, demonstrate diurnal variation in variety-seeking. Variety-seeking is lower in the morning than other times of day. People pick less varied flavors of yogurt, for example, when choosing in the morning. Further, the results demonstrate the underlying role of circadian changes in physiological stimulation and arousal. The effect is mediated by a physiological measure of arousal (i.e., body temperature) and moderated by factors that shape physiological arousal (i.e., sunlight and individual differences in circadian preferences). These findings shed light on drivers of variety-seeking and the biological basis of consumer behavior more generally.
Keywords: variety, decision-making, choice, circadian rhythms, arousal
JEL Classification: M30
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