The Atlantic

People Underestimate How Fun It Is to Do the Same Thing Twice

It’s common to prize novelty in leisure activities, but research suggests that revisiting the familiar can offer unexpected pleasures.
Source: Miguel Vidal / Reuters

A common, low-stakes living-room scenario: A couple is trying to decide on a movie to watch. There’s an option one-half of the relationship is thrilled about, but the other has already seen it. On those grounds, it’s ruled out.

But a new study suggests that this notion that having already seen it—or read it, done it, visited it—automatically precludes a second go-around might be mistaken. Repeating something, it turns out, “may turn out to be less dull than people think,” writes Ed O’Brien, the author of the study and a behavioral-science professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

In one experiment, O’Brien and his

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