Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trying To Stay On A Strict Diet? Focus On The Details

Date:
January 10, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Repetition usually makes people enjoy things less. Such satiation causes our favorites to lose their sheen, makes it hard to follow a diet, and pushes us to escalate our spending on novelty. Life has even been called a "hedonic treadmill" where we must find better and better experiences just to stay happy. However, new research finds that paying attention to details can help us avoid becoming bored with the same old thing.

Repetition usually makes people enjoy things less. Such satiation causes our favorites to lose their sheen, makes it hard to follow a diet, and pushes us to escalate our spending on novelty. Life has even been called a "hedonic treadmill" where we must find better and better experiences just to stay happy. However, new research from the February issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that paying attention to details can help us avoid becoming bored with the same old thing.

"It has long been said that 'the devil is in the details.' This research finds that the details may be the key to slowing the hedonic treadmill," writes Joseph P. Redden (University of Minnesota).

In one of three studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, Redden had participants eat 22 fruit-flavored jelly beans (cherry, orange, strawberry, peach, tangerine) while rating their enjoyment. At the end, participants were asked to indicate how well they could distinguish the flavors, how much they noticed the different flavors, how repetitive the eating task felt, how similar the jelly beans seemed to each other, and how much variety they perceived.

"People given specific flavor labels (e.g., cherry) became less satiated and kept enjoying the jellybeans longer than people given the general label of 'jellybean'," Redden reveals. In other words, though everyone ate the same variety of jellybeans, people who were just given "jellybeans" to eat as opposed to "tangerine jellybeans" and "strawberry jellybeans" gave lower assessments as the experiment wore on, though both groups rated the jellybeans about equally toward the beginning of the experiment.

"Many people see satiation as an unavoidable, physiological consequence of consumption. This research shows that satiation, or the decline in enjoyment, depends on how much repetition people perceive," Redden explains. "The current findings have several implications for consumers. Notably, consumers can enjoy themselves more by focusing on the details during their experiences."

The study also has implications for our understandings of expertise, or how people who devote themselves to a particular field can maintain interest over many years. However, Redden cautions that countering satiation may also potentially have a negative effect by reducing one deterrent to mindless over-consumption.

"Subcategorization reduced satiation for experiences that were more cognitive (e.g., studying) as well as more sensory (e.g., eating snacks)," Redden says.

He continues: "Consumers should find subcategorization especially useful when facing limited options, developing expertise, or following a repetitive regimen. Regardless of how they use the findings, the current research establishes that subcategorization offers people the potential to make their lives more enjoyable."

Journal reference: Joseph P. Redden, "Reducing Satiation: The Role of Categorization Level." Journal of Consumer Research: February 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Trying To Stay On A Strict Diet? Focus On The Details." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108133326.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, January 10). Trying To Stay On A Strict Diet? Focus On The Details. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108133326.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Trying To Stay On A Strict Diet? Focus On The Details." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108133326.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins