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Playing the Field: The Effect of Fertility on Women’s Desire for Variety

Kristina M. Durante and Ashley Rae Arsena
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 41, No. 6 (April 2015), pp. 1372-1391
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/679652
Stable URL:
Page Count: 20
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Previous research finds that ovulation—the time each month when women are most fertile—can shift women’s mating psychology and increase their desire for new options in men. However, might ovulation also increase women’s desire for new products? Four studies find that women select a greater number of unique options from consumer product sets at high fertility. This effect is especially strong for women in committed relationships. Additional findings show that the fertility shift in desire for variety in products is driven by the fertility shift in desire for new options in men activating a variety-seeking mind-set. Subsequently, loyalty to a romantic partner, whether manipulated or measured, moderated the effect of fertility on consumer variety seeking. This research contributes to the literature by revealing when, why, and how fertility influences desire for variety in consumer choice and highlights the mating motives that underlie this effect.

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