People seek more variety when they choose multiple items for future consumption simultaneously than when they make choices sequentially, i.e. on an ‘in the moment’ basis.  Diversification is non-optimal when people overestimate their need for diversity (Read & Loewenstein, 1995). In other words, sequential choices lead to greater experienced utility. For example, before going on vacation I may upload classical, rock and pop music to my MP3 player, but on the actual trip I may mostly end up listening to my favorite rock music. (See also projection bias).

 

Read, D., & Loewenstein, G. (1995). Diversification bias: Explaining the discrepancy in variety seeking between combined and separated choices. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 1, 34-49.

 

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