Satiated? Think of variety

May 20th, 2009 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 20 (IANS) Have you ever been sick of pizza, playing the same computer game, or visiting the same bookshop?
Joseph Redden, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s (U-M) Carlson School of Management, may have found a cure for your satiation blues. You should think of variety, he says.

“People forget about the abundance of different experiences they have had and tend to focus on the repetition,” said Redden. “Simply thinking about the variety of songs they have listened to or meals they have eaten will make people enjoy the activity again.”

Satiation, the process of consuming products and experiences to the point where they are less enjoyable, is a big problem for consumers and retailers.

In the past, time and variety have been seen as the only ways to cure satiation. Redden and co-authors find that just recalling variety may cure satiation faster.

“Intuition says that if time passes we will like something again: we call this ’spontaneous recovery’,” said Redden.

“This isn’t the whole story. People don’t fully recover on their own with the mere passage of time. If I’m sick of chocolate, simply thinking about all the other desserts I’ve had since the last time I had chocolate helps cure my satiation. Time doesn’t seem to do that very well.”

In one of the three studies conducted for this research, Redden and his co-authors asked participants to listen to the chorus of a favourite song 20 times in a row.

Then they were asked to rate the clip. Not surprisingly, after 20 repetitions their enjoyment of the song dropped a great deal, said an U-M release.

Satiation is a friction. It prevents people from enjoying favourite activities and it prevents retailers from gaining repeat business. “The solution to satiation is to take the time to appreciate all the variety you have,” said Redden.

The study will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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