If you happen to be a female, you can likely relate to unusual cravings for chocolate (or other “bad for you” foods) once a month due to your menstrual cycle. Facial blemishes, crankiness, and cramps also go hand-in-hand with this period. However, new research shows that this might not be the only time of the month when your body influences your behavior.
Researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business have found that women seek more options in dating partners when they’re near ovulation. Additionally, they look for a greater variety in products and services when they’re out shopping.
“Just like a fisherman casting a wide net, ovulating women seek to cast a wide net into the dating pool and expand the number of potential suitors they have to choose from,” said Kristina Durante, UTSA marketing assistant professor and lead investigator of the study. “And, this desire for variety in men at ovulation triggers a variety seeking mindset that carries over into desire for variety in products.”
Durante and her colleagues conducted four studies that included 553 women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. These women were not pregnant or taking hormonal contraceptives. They not only found that the females wanted more options while dating, but shopping as well.
“From candy bars to cosmetics, ovulating women chose many different options — not just the same product or brand again and again,” Durante continued. “However, when we had women imagine themselves in a loving relationship with a desirable partner, or when we had married women put on their wedding rings, they no longer desired variety near ovulation.”
Watching That Wallet
As a female and science lover, I’m always interested in learning more about my body and how it works. That being said, it’s a little strange to hear that I may be more demanding and browse longer at the store when I’m ovulating.
There are certain features of the body that none of us can control (men included!), but this study particularly strikes me as intriguing because it influences everything from my grocery store runs to my trips to the mall. Furthermore, it’s eerie to think about the marketing implications, as Durante continues to cite from her study.
“For about a week every month, normally cycling women — constituting over a billion consumers — may be especially likely to respond to appeals by competing brands to switch,” she stated.
But as they say, knowledge is power. I can only hope that my brain wins out over my hormones and I remember this study as I walk through the mall.
- Durante, Kristina. “Women seek greater variety in men and consumer products near ovulation.” Feb. 17, 2015. University of Texas at San Antonio.