“Nature is mine”: How can we measure psychological ownership of nature?

The concept of psychological ownership of nature, or the feeling that nature is “mine” or “ours,” has gained significant attention in recent years as a way to encourage pro-environmental behaviors. However, until now, there has been a lack of psychometrically validated measures to assess this construct accurately, limiting its potential impact in research and practical applications.

Xiongzhi Wang, Kelly S. Fielding, and Angela J. Dean address this gap in their recent paper (published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology) by developing and validating scales to measure individual and collective psychological ownership of nature, using a representative sample of Australian adults.

Different to other approaches measuring feelings of psychological ownership, their measure did not capture the associated attributes of ownership feelings toward nature (e.g., control, intimate familiarity), but rather directly assessed the ownership core (i.e., “mine-ness/our-ness”). The authors developed and validated scales of both individual (“Nature is mine”) and collective psychological ownership of nature (“Nature is ours”). Their results also indicate that these two forms of psychological ownership may have different affects on pro-environmental behaviors, as collective psychological ownership was more strongly associated with environmental concern and environmental self-identity and individual psychological ownership was more strongly associated with territoriality and dominionistic beliefs toward nature. Both scales offer a new tool for researchers interested in understanding psychological ownership and promoting pro-environmental behaviors.

You can read more about the research of Wang, Fielding, & Dean (2023) here.

When is a claim of ownership legitimate? Bernadette Kamleitner in conversation with Joann Peck

Ownership is a fundamental concept to human beings. We all have a natural desire to own things, whether they are physical objects, ideas, or experiences. But can we experience ownership for public places, digital data, or even our spouse? When is a claim of ownership legitimate? As part of the opening of the POP Library at the WU Vienna, Bernadette Kamleitner and Joann Peck explored these questions, revealing fascinating insights about the science of ownership.

While legal ownership is crucial in many contexts, such as property rights and intellectual property, our emotional attachment to things often goes beyond legal ownership. We can feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for things that we do not legally own, such as a public park or a shared cultural tradition. This distinction between legal and psychological ownership is particularly relevant in the digital age. Our digital identities are a reflection of who we are, and the data we generate is a record of our lives. As such, do we have a sense of ownership over our data? And can we feel a stronger sense of ownership for some things than for others?

Bernadette Kamleitner and Joann Peck discuss the role of ownership in society and our most valuable possessions. Find out more about the science of ownership in the video below.

Why do we keep things we don’t use? – Bernadette Kamleitner in conversation with Carey K. Morewedge

Think about the times you moved to another place: How many of the boxes you packed were standing around and you hadn’t opened them for days, weeks, or months? And still, wouldn’t it be painful to give the boxes away?

This is just one example of how puzzling the science of ownership can be. As part of the opening of the POP Library at the WU Vienna, Bernadette Kamleitner spoke with Carey K. Morewedge about the science of ownership. They discuss, for instance, the burden of ownership, or how owning less affects us. Find out more about the science of ownership in the video below.

“Why is it interesting to study the science of ownership?” – Bernadette Kamleitner in conversation with Ori Friedman

Feelings of possession and ownership affect our lives all the time: Ownership can make us like things more, it can make us feel responsible and governs our behaviour.

As part of the opening of the POP Library at the WU Vienna, Bernadette Kamleitner spoke with Ori Friedman about the science of ownership. They discuss why it is so exciting to study the science of ownership and how it affects us. Find out more about the science of ownership in the video below.

“Where do you see the role of possession, ownership and property in societal issues?” – Bernadette Kamleitner in conversation with Russell Belk

Sometimes we give away the things we love – the things we treasure the most and that define who we are. How do people cope with this loss when they move to another city, lose their goods due to a natural disaster or simply exchange all their physical goods, like a CD, with digital ones?

As part of the opening of the POP Library at the WU Vienna, Bernadette Kamleitner spoke with Russell Belk about the science of ownership. They discuss the role of ownership in society and people’s reaction to losing their most valuable possessions. Find out more about the science of ownership in the video below.

Why is the topic of ownership worth studying?

The concepts of possession, ownership and property play a fundamental role for human behaviour, social interactions and economic transactions. There are numerous resources from various disciplines dealing with exciting and surprising findings on ownership, which are now bundled and curated in the new special POP collection.

To get a first impression of the physical side of the POP (Possession, Ownership & Property) collection and to find out why world-leading experts (Floyd Rudmin, Russ Belk, Ori Friedman, Michael Heller, Jennifer Inauen, Carey Morewedge, Joann Peck, Jon Pierce, and Federico Rossano) think that ownership is an interesting topic to study and what research finding on the issue surprised them the most watch this video.

We present: The POP collection

We are happy to announce the opening of the POP (Possession, Ownership & Property) collection at WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business), which was initiated and curated by the Institute for Marketing & Consumer Research (m.core).

The POP collection is an evolving collection. It builds on a donation of an abundance of multi-disciplinary titles by Professor Floyd Rudmin (University of Tromsø), a prominent pioneer in the field.

Thank you, Floyd!

The printed books can be found in the WU Library. The digital collection contains bibliographical information on these books as well as numerous other important contributions in this field.

Search the digital collection according to your interests: HERE you find the link to the Possession, Ownership, Property Collection – Vienna University of Economics and Business.

New update? Maybe later! Procrastinating in adopting digital product updates

Consumers who own digital products, such as mobile apps or software, are frequently offered updates to integrate new features. Although delaying an update may lead to non-optimized performance and privacy or security risks, users often hesitate to install available updates. In their current research, Yazhen Xiao (University of Tennesse) and Jelena Spanjol (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) introduce the concept of adoption procrastination and examine why consumers delay adopting what appear to be improvements to already used digital products. The authors take a closer look at the relationship between perceived change, annoyance, anticipated inaction regret and adoption procrastination, as well as the role of perceived benefit and psychological ownership of the digital product. The empirical studies show that users are more likely to be annoyed with an app update that makes a major change to the app and, hence, procrastinate about adoption. As psychological ownership is related to users’ desire to control the product’s status quo, users are more annoyed with changes introduced with an update. These findings are particularly relevant as a longer gap between adoption intention and implementation can slow down market acceptance and in turn negatively influences the product’s success. In order to reduce user procrastination, it is necessary to understand that consumers are often psychologically bonded with digital products. As a result, Xiao and Spanjol recommend that digital product marketers need to reduce users’ sense of loss that accompanies adopting a new digital product version.

You can read more about this research here.

Do you think of borrowed money as ‘your money’?

If you borrow money from someone, it is, by definition, money that is available for you to use but owned by someone else. Despite this feature of borrowed money, Eesha Sharma (Dartmouth College), Stephanie Tully (Stanford University) and Cynthia Cryder (Washington University in St. Louis) find in their recent research that consumers can experience feelings of psychological ownership of borrowed money. In their current article, the authors establish the concept of psychological ownership of borrowed money and investigates its implications for consumer borrowing. They observe that consumers experience psychological ownership to differing degrees: Consumers might think of a credit as belonging to the bank that lent it or rather as their own money, similar to using their cash. This variation predicts which consumers are more willing to use borrowed money. The authors point out that differences in psychological ownership do not merely reflect a misunderstanding that borrowed funds must be repaid, but psychological ownership of borrowed money reflects the extent to which consumers subjectively feel that borrowed money is their own.

You can read more about this research here.

SJDM Poster Award 2020: Signaling Status by Acquiring Ownership (vs. Access)

As an alternative to ownership, access-based consumption allows consumers to gain access to products by paying a usage fee. Such fees tend to be lower than purchase prices. Can access-based consumption therefore reduce perceived social inequality?

Two weeks ago, Yang Guo (University of Pittsburgh) and Cait Lamberton (University of Pennsylvania) presented their poster “Signaling Status by Acquiring Ownership (vs. Access)” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM 2020). Their research challenge the assumption that access-based consumption reduces social inequality by highlighting the role of acquisition modes (owning vs. accessing) as status signals. Ownership maintains a premium in status signaling, and thus, access-based consumption may even intensify rather than reduce social inequality. The research by Guo and Lamberton shows that individuals have a higher subjective social rank when they own but their friend accesses similar products, compared to when acquisition modes are reversed. However, the status signaling effectiveness of acquisition modes changes as a function of payment structure (when ownership is achieved via extended payments vs. an immediate lump sum), and the framing given to the access-based alternative (when access-based consumption is framed as a rent-to-own option).

By showing that access-based consumption options may not effectively reduce perceived social inequality, Yang Guo won the Society of Judgment and Decision Making’s Student Poster Award. Congratulations!

You can find the poster here.