Monthly variety show

Variety they say is the spice of life, or as Petrarch put it a touch more stridently, “Sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure.” This may well be true but we all seek sameness to some degree. Could you stand seeking a new cereal every day? How would you cope with taking a new route to work every day? Sameness has some value as a lubricant of your day but at the same time we all do need the spicy-ness that variety offers although as a new study shows there are some times when we value variety more than others especially, according to a new study, if you are a woman.

The study involved more than 500 women aged between 18 and 40 who were not pregnant and not taking contraceptives. The behaviours of the women were correlated with their cycle phase with some interesting results.

Perhaps not so surprisingly it emerged that when ovulating women seek a variety of male partners, not necessarily sexually, but at least in terms of company. They seek this variety to a greater degree than they do when not ovulating and it makes sense to effectively be casting a wider net at the time when you are fertile. An additional founding was however, a little less predictable.

As a woman’s desire for new options in men expanded with ovulation so did her inclination to try a variety of products rather than the same brand again and again. This applies across products from chocolates to clothes to cosmetics. An interesting twist though was that when the researchers asked the women to imagine themselves in a loving relationship with a desirable partner they no longer desired variety nearer to ovulation.

In the context of the journal on which this study was published, the implication of this is that for around a week every month single, uncommitted women are open to “brand switching”. On a more meaningful level it indicates that there are innate forces that move us but that you don’t have to be a victim of those forces, you can override them by changing your mindset. The power of the mind is far more important than the scope of the market.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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