Don't burn out: Enjoy your favorite products more by consuming them less frequently

August 15, 2012

Consumers enjoy products more in the long run if they don't overuse them when first purchased, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Consumers are naturally prone to consume products they enjoy too rapidly for their own good, growing tired of them more quickly than they would if they slowed down," write authors Jeff Galak (Carnegie Mellon University), Justin Kruger (New York University), and George Loewenstein (Carnegie Mellon University).

We often face decisions about how rapidly to consume products we enjoy: how quickly to eat a favorite ; how often to listen to a favorite song; or how frequently to play a new video game. But do we make choices that maximize our enjoyment of such products? It turns out that there may a selfish reason to resist the to overindulge.

The authors asked consumers to eat a well-liked food such as chocolate or play an exciting either at their own pace or at longer intervals. When consumers were given the ability to choose a rate of consumption and that decision was constrained to force them to consume slowly, they enjoyed the overall experience more than those who either chose their rate of consumption in an unconstrained manner or those whose rate of consumption was chosen for them.

Because consumers choose to consume too quickly, they don't appreciate that spacing out consumption decreases satiation and thereby increases enjoyment. Paradoxically, we tend to make choices that will bring us less pleasure overall.

"When you are lucky enough to be able to choose how often to consume the things you enjoy, space out your . Not only will the experience last longer, but it will be more enjoyable as well," the authors conclude.

Explore further: What's a little mold? Why consumers have different freshness standards at home

More information: Jeff Galak, Justin Kruger, and George Loewenstein. "Slow Down! Insensitivity to Rate of Consumption Leads to Avoidable Satiation." Journal of Consumer Research: February 2013.

Related Stories

How do mood and emotional arousal affect consumer choices?

March 15, 2012

When they're in a positive mood, people tend to choose products that match their mood and their level of emotional arousal, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But crabby, low-energy people will ...

Recommended for you

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.