What is it about reruns that people like so much? According to a new study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, it’s more than just nostalgia. Apparently, people like to repeat certain experiences because it allows them to rediscover subtle details they may or may not have noticed before. In the case of watching reruns, it apparently gives consumers enhanced viewing pleasure.

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American University Professor of Marketing Cristel Russell and her co-author Sidney Levi call this phenomenon re-consumption. For the study, they tried to find out what motivated people who read the same books, watch the same shows, or travel to the same places over and over again. The rationale behind repetitive action proved to be more complex. According to the study, there are five main purposes of re-consumption namely: regressive, progressive, reconstructive, relational, and reflective.

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"Understanding re-consumption and the motivations behind it is incredibly important," says Russell. "If we can look at the underlying drivers of re-consumption, we can help businesses to better understand their customers and help them create products that consumers will use again and again."

So the next time you're sitting down to watch reruns of your favorite TV show, take a moment to think about what it is about the experience that makes you want to repeat it. You might be able to use this theory the next time you're presenting an idea at work or preparing for a vacation to a place you've gone to before.


(Photo by DaGoaty via Flickr Creative Commons)

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