(Feb. 12, 2015) -- New research from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Business suggests women seek more options in dating partners near ovulation -- when they are most fertile -- which may lead them to also seek a greater variety of products and services.
"Just like a fisherman casting a wide net, ovulating women seek to cast a wide net into the dating pool and expand the number of potential suitors they have to choose from," says Kristina M. Durante, UTSA marketing assistant professor and lead investigator of the study. "And, this desire for variety in men at ovulation triggers a variety seeking mindset that carries over into desire for variety in products."
Forthcoming in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, "Playing the Field: The Effect of Fertility on Women's Desire for Variety" provides some of the first evidence that choice behavior in our personal relationships may influence choice behavior in the marketplace. Durante and then UTSA visiting assistant professor Ashley Rae Arsena focused their predictions on previous research that finds that ovulation can shift women's mating psychology.
Durante and Arsena conducted four studies that included 553 female participants in the U.S. between 18 and 40 years of age who were not pregnant or taking hormonal contraceptives. The studies found that women's desire for new options in men triggered a variety seeking mindset that led women to also desire variety in products. Loyalty to a romantic partner reduced the desire for product variety, suggesting that loyalty in romantic relationships can translate to brand loyalty.
"From candy bars to cosmetics, ovulating women chose many different options--not just the same product or brand again and again,' says Durante. "However, when we had women imagine themselves in a loving relationship with a desirable partner, or when we had married women put on their wedding rings, they no longer desired variety near ovulation."
The study's findings have practical implications for marketers. For instance, a company might appeal to mate attraction motives in marketing messages to spur increased desire for variety and novelty in consumer choice.
"For about a week every month, normally cycling women -- constituting over a billion consumers -- may be especially likely to respond to appeals by competing brands to switch," says Durante.
Future research is needed to examine whether the social value, cost or rewarding nature of the product influences the effect of fertility on variety seeking.
Durante conducts research in the areas of family spending decisions, social influence and the biological basis of consumer behavior using an evolutionary theoretical approach. Her work has appeared in several top academic journals and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets worldwide.
Visit Kristina Durante's faculty website to learn more about her research and to download the full text version of "Playing the Field: The Effect of Fertility on Women's Desire for Variety."
Learn more about the UTSA College of Business at business.utsa.edu.
Learn more about UTSA's College of Business master's programs. These hands-on sessions allow students to review application procedures, learn admissions requirements and ask questions about the college master's programs.
Business Building (BB 4.02.10), Main Campus
Orientation marks a major step toward becoming a Roadrunner. It is a unique experience designed to welcome freshmen and transfers to UTSA and ensure a successful transition into college. They will learn about UTSA, prepare for their first semester and have fun meeting other students. There is also a special Family Orientation program too.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The three-day event showcases the Lone Star State's diversity adn rich heritage through a wide variety of ethnic food, music, dance, arts and crafts.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Learn more about UTSA's Master of Arts degree in Education and five program areas at this free informational session.
Main Building (MB 0.410), Main Campus
The 3rd annual event showcases the latest research discoveries of trainees, faculty, staff and students from health-related disciplines. Register in advance for this free event.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
The inaugural Roadrunner Weekend begins with a golf scramble on Friday and a Gala and After Party Saturday night. The event connects UTSA alumni and supports scholarships.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr., San Antonio
The Academy is targeted at providing instructional tools to create a social studies curriculum with Chicano/Mexican American content.
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
The sympoisum will focus on the interface between aging and neurodegenerative diseases, will educate the wider research community about advancements in this fast-paced field and stimulate collaborative research in this area. Register online for this free event.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.