NYU Stern
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Delayed Gratification and Chocolate Kisses

By Justin Kruger, Professor of Marketing

justin kruger

We demonstrated that people are naturally prone to consume things that they enjoy too rapidly for their own good, growing tired of initially well-liked stimuli more quickly than they would if they slowed consumption.

Consumer marketers may be interested to know that people who take their time between Kisses (the Hershey variety) are satiated less quickly – and thus get more out of less – than those who gobble them up all at once, according to NYU Stern Professor of Marketing Justin Kruger.

Kruger, along with Carnegie Mellon’s Jeff Galak and George Loewenstein, investigated how people choose to consume the things they enjoy and whether their mode of consumption maximizes their enjoyment. Their results are presented in “Slow Down! Insensitivity to Rate of Consumption Leads to Avoidable Satiation.”

The authors conducted experiments with both Kisses and video games to explore whether people were more or less satiated with varying degrees of intervals between eating the candies or playing favorite video games. They also wanted to find out if participants recognized the effect the intervals had on their degree of satiety and were then able to control themselves so that they wouldn’t get tired of the chocolates or the video games too quickly.

According to Kruger, “We demonstrated that people are naturally prone to consume things that they enjoy too rapidly for their own good, growing tired of initially well-liked stimuli more quickly than they would if they slowed consumption.”

The results presented a paradox, he added: “Participants who chose their own rate of consumption experienced less pleasure than those who had a slower rate of consumption chosen for them.”