The Impact of Private versus Public Consumption on Variety-Seeking Behavior
Three experiments demonstrate that people incorporate more variety into their consumption decisions when their behavior is subject to public scrutiny. Studies 1 and 2 indicate that consumers expect others to evaluate their decision more favorably if they choose variety and that this sometimes leads individuals to incorporate more variety into their public than private decisions. Results of study 2 confirm predictions that a relevant individual difference variable (self-monitoring) moderates the effects of expected evaluation on variety seeking. The final study demonstrates that pressure to choose variety in public is eliminated when a social cue signals the appropriateness of consuming one's favorites. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.
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