One for you, one for me: Giving shared gifts

We know from past research on the mere ownership effect that people tend to like their possessions merely because they own them. But do people also like their possessions more merely because others own them too? Evan Polman (University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA) and Sam J. Maglio (University of Toronto Scarborough, Ontario, Canada) examined this question in the context of gift-giving. They found that when gift givers buy also for themselves what they gift, what the authors call “companionizing”, gift recipients like the gifts more and feel closer to the gift givers. These findings suggest that similarity due to owning the same item as someone else can increase liking of the item – and suggest a simple way to make gifts that are more satisfying!

You can read more about this research here.

Who owns the monkey selfie? The case of animal copyrights

A settlement has been reached in the long-running legal battle over who owns the copyright of the famous “monkey selfie”. The pictures were taken in 2011 in Indonesia by a macaque using camera equipment belonging to the British photographer David Slater. Shortly after, a legal dispute began as Slater objected to Wikipedia Commons’ hosting the pictures. Wikipedia refused to remove the pictures claiming that the copyright belonged to the monkey. In 2015, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) joined the dispute by suing on behalf of the monkey named Naruto, based on the argument that the monkey should be assigned the copyright. Finally, the photographer whose camera was used for the selfie agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue from the pictures to charities dedicated to protecting the monkeys’ natural habitat. Definitely a thought-provoking case raising unique issues about expanding legal rights to non-human animals.

Escaping the bonds of ownership with just a camera click

Parting with our possessions can be tough, especially when it comes to objects we are emotionally attached to. This is unfortunate not only because this would free us some space in our wardrobes and storage rooms, but most importantly because nonprofit organizations almost exclusively rely on donations, which means on consumers’ willingness to give away used goods. A new study by Karen Page Winterich (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Rebecca Walker Reczek (Ohio State University, USA) and Julie R. Irwin (University of Texas at Austin, USA) provides an imaginative solution to this problem. Taking a picture of a cherished possession increases donations because it helps consumers deal with the identity loss associated with giving away sentimental goods. The authors suggest that pictures facilitate decisions to donate because they help keep the memory and thus the emotional value of the object, even in the absence of the object itself. Taking a picture could then liberate us from being possessed by our possessions and do good to others at the same time.

You can read more about this research here.

Just owned – already ‘mine’?

Have you ever wondered how much time is required before we see owned objects as reflections of ourselves? It is known from prior research using various explicit measures such as favourability ratings that people tend to associate owned objects with the self. What is less known though is how long it takes for associations between owned objects and the self to emerge. A new study by A. Nicole LeBarr and Judith M. Shedden (McMaster University, Canada) distinguished between newly-owned and already-owned objects in order to provide an answer to this question with the help of implicit measures. According to the results of the study, people were fast at associating owned objects with themselves even if they had owned them just for a few minutes. Apparently, the time between owning a new object and viewing it as a reflection of ourselves might be much shorter than previously thought.

You can read more about this research here.

Update: The Future of Ownership Research – Insights from the Opening & Closing Forums

The collaboratively discussed insights from the Opening and Closing Forums, which where held within the scope of “The Future of Ownership Research” workshop this July 2017, are now readily available to download.

You can either click [HERE] to download the full summary or go to the event’s page to do so.

A visual summary of the Closing Forum is provided below.

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On this note we would like to thank all participants for collaborating so effortfully with us on this! We believe that the questions that were raised will guide us towards a prosperous future in ownership research!

“The Future of Ownership Research” Workshop 2017

As already announced earlier this month, our team hosted an interdisciplinary workshop on ownership research at the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business in collaboration with our colleagues Joann Peck (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Stephan Dickert (Queen Mary University of London).

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The Origanizational Committee

The workshop took place on July 7th and 8th and we are now happy to be able to share the highlights of this special get-together with you. You will find a detailled report by [CLICKING HERE]. Alternatively, you can also reach the page through the main navigation under the “events” tab.

We are still in the process of adding more material as we go so make sure to check back regularly for new insights on the future of ownership research.

“The Future of Ownership Research” – Workshop at WU Vienna

Dear readers,

as aleady announced earlier this year, we are hosting a workshop on ownership research titled “The Future of Ownership Research” at the Vienna University of Economics & Business (WU Vienna), which will take place this Friday and Saturday, July 7th + 8th.

TheScienceofOwnership.org will of course cover the workshop in more detail, so be prepared to read more about it soon.

Detailled information about the speakers and the program can be found [HERE].

We are looking forward to providing you with an update soon.

– The Science of Ownership Team