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When we don't get what we want, we settle for the second best instead of picking the closest substitute. But, a new study has suggested that we would be better off picking a not-so-similar alternative.
Findings from a series of studies indicate that even though people tend to prefer the option that's most similar to the item they can't have, they're likely to be more satisfied with the option that diverges a bit.
Lead researcher Young Eun Huh said that intuition suggests the next best thing is the thing most like the thing they want, but their findings suggest this intuition is wrong. Here is what your cravings say about you.
The intuition is wrong because it fails to account for the mental comparisons one ends up making between what they wanted and what they ended up with.
Huh said the thing that is most like what one wants is also easiest to compare to what he is craving and people are likely to notice that it's worse than what they want.
In an online study, the researchers presented 101 participants with different sets of foods. Each set included one desired food and two substitute options.
The data suggest that the less-similar option may actually be just as satisfying as the original item. The findings provide insight into how one can maximize their satisfaction with the food they eat, given the choices available.
The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.
Image source: Shutterstock
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