Romantic Crushes Promote Variety‐Seeking Behavior

Romantic Crushes Promote Variety‐Seeking Behavior

By
Huang Xun, Ping Dong, S. Christian Wheeler, Adam Alter
Journal of Consumer Psychology. April
2019, Vol. 29, Issue 2, Pages 226-242

Consumers making repeat consumption choices often need to decide whether to stick to their favorite option or to select something different. Understanding the situational factors that influence their willingness to seek more or less variety in consumption is of both theoretical and practical importance. The current research proposes that a salient relationship state—romantic crush—can increase consumers’ variety‐seeking tendency in unrelated consumption situations. Building on the compensatory consumption literature, we suggest that the lack of reciprocal response in the romantic crush experience may lower consumers’ sense of control in the romantic relationship. Therefore, they are motivated to restore their sense of control by making more varied choices in consumption domains. Five studies provide support for this hypothesis. In line with our control‐restoration account, the effect disappears when consumers’ sense of control is boosted via other means. Moreover, the effect is specific to the experience of a romantic crush and cannot be generalized to other types of romantic relationship (e.g., initial stage of love). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved