The endowment effect is old news: the amount that we value an object increases once we take ownership of it. The ‘extended version’ shows that the impact of the endowment effect increases with time: our valuation of an object increases more and more as the amount of time that we own it also increases. This is known as the length-of-ownership effect.
A recent study published in the journal Judgement and Decision Making1 has taken an even deeper look at this effect: studying how touching an object increases both our attachment to that object and how much we value itâ€¦ even if we don’t own it (also in pdf). Here are the key findings of this ‘pre-ownership exposure study’:
- Touching an object will increase our attachment to it and valuation of it, whether we own it or not.
- The longer we touch or handle an un-owned object, the greater we will value it and feel attached to it.
- Simply thinking about an un-owned object increases our valuation of it and how much we feel attached to it.
Related findings, cited in this article:
- If an object is being sold at auction, the amount that we value the object will increase as the length of the auction increases.
- Owning a coupon for an object increases our emotional attachment to that object.
- Making an item the “focus of a comparison” increases its attractiveness and the probability that it would later be selected. We will also feel more attached to the item and will value it higher.
1 What, you’re not reading Judgement and Decision Making? You should; it’s bimonthly and open access.