(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.
Through the month of February, the UTSA community is invited to join student organizations, colleges and departments at events that commemorate the African American people, places and events that have paved the way for racial equality.
The student organization MuTe (Music Technology) will be hosting a recital that's open to the public.
Arts Building Recital Hall (ART 2.03.02), Main Campus
The UTSA Department of English presents this year's Brackenridge Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Lawrence Venuti. Venuti is a professor of English at Temple University.
Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
Diploma Dash is a fast, certified 5k course for runners and a scenic route around Main Campus for walkers, strollers and dogs! There are individual and team prizes. Benefits UTSA students through the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship program.
UTSA Main Campus
Enjoy music, food and socializing during this fundraising event benefiting the San Antonio Symphony League for the Youth Concert Series and the ITC for its ongoing educational mission.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA Libraries will host Robert Rico, M.P.A., Department of Criminal Justice, for his presentation "Restorative Justice: A Relational Approach to Civic Discourse." Pizza will be provided to students while supplies last.
Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.309), Downtown Campus
Spend an evening stirring your curiosity during these monthly talks featuring some of UTSA’s most renowned faculty, and learn how the latest research in their fields applies to our daily lives. This month's speaker is Francine Romero, UTSA associate professor and associate dean of the College of Public Policy.
The Historic Guadalupe Theatre, 1301 Guadalupe St., San Antonio
Meet with 60+ representatives from Texas and out-of-state schools to get information on becoming a competitive health professions applicant and information about the application and transition process.
Student Union Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
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