What are the chances you’d reread a book you loved, or revisit a memorable vacation destination, over the allure of something exciting and unknown? Given the option, studies show we’re often inclined to seek out the new experience, even if it’s out of our way, costs more, or turns out to be just so-so. Think: Snagging that 10 p.m. dinner reservation at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, even if the one you raved about last weekend could seat you at 8 p.m.

Though you may worry that doing the same thing twice will be boring or repetitive, recent research from the University of Chicago suggests there’s a hidden upside. A series of seven studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that revisiting a fun experience for a second go-around is far more enjoyable than you might expect. Even when you think you’ve already seen what there is to see in a museum, or city you’ve already been to, a return visit opens your eyes to nuances that you likely missed the first time around — which is a form of novelty in and of itself, the study author notes in the Journal

So instead of fixating on your quest to find the best tacos in your neighborhood, study author Ed O’Brien, Ph.D., associate professor at the Booth School of Business, says you should skip the research, and treat yourself to a plate of tacos you know you’ll enjoy — and experience the happiness boost and meaningful benefits to your well-being. 

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  • Mallory Stratton

    Director of Content Operations at Thrive

    Mallory is Director of Content Operations at Thrive. Prior to Thrive, she was Associate Editor on “It’s All In Your Head” by Keith Blanchard (Wicked Cow Studios, 2017), an illustrated brain science book, and worked closely on its accompanying cross-platform partnerships with Time Inc. and WebMD. She spends her off-hours curating playlists, practicing restorative yoga, and steeping new teas.