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Ownership and Possession Biases: Exploring differences in self-object linking, overvaluation, and object evaluation by self-construal

  • Author(s): Reed, Megan E.
  • Advisor(s): Mackie, Diane M
  • et al.
Abstract

The studies in this dissertation examine the biases that stem from ownership and whether those biases can be explained by the strength of the association formed between the self and owned object. The role of culture in this process was explored. In Study 1, participants were assigned to either be an owner or buyer of an object, a journal. Owners valued the journal more than buyers, but did not otherwise show excessively favorable evaluations. Contrary to expectations, the association between the self and the object was not predictive of the excessive valuation and the process did not vary with cultural self-construal. In Study 2, the journal was modified and described in more independent or interdependent terms, signifying its congruity with more independent and interdependent self-construals, respectively. Owners reported both higher values and more positive evaluations than buyers, but these biases were again not predicted by the strength of the association between the self and object or influenced by participants’ self-construal. Overall, results suggest that the biases that stem from ownership are robust and related, but are not best explained by a self-object association. Implications across types of ownership are discussed.

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