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Is variety the spice of life? It all depends on the rate of consumption

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  • Jeff Galak
  • Justin Kruger
  • George Loewenstein

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 satiation 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeff Galak & Justin Kruger & George Loewenstein, 2011. "Is variety the spice of life? It all depends on the rate of consumption," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(3), pages 230-238, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:230-238
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Read, Daniel & Antonides, Gerrit & van den Ouden, Laura & Trienekens, Harry, 2001. "Which Is Better: Simultaneous or Sequential Choice?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 54-70, January.
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    Keywords

    diversification bias; variety; consumption;

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