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The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects


  • James R. Wolf
  • Hal R. Arkes
  • Waleed A. Muhanna


The duration of ownership has been shown to increase the valuation of items that people currently own as well as items they have owned in the past, a phenomenon termed the ``length-of-ownership effect.'' We hypothesize that the duration of exposure to an item will foster increased pre-ownership attachment to an item and increased valuations in a manner similar to duration of actual ownership. We examine this effect in two experiments, both variations of the classic mug experiment. To induce different levels of exposure, we varied the amount of time that participants examined the auctioned item (i.e., coffee mugs) prior to participating in real dollar auctions. In the first study, participants bid in online English open bid auctions. In the second study, participants bid in first-price sealed bid auctions. In both cases of duration of physical contact positively influenced valuations (i.e., bid levels). % changed pre-factual to pre-ownership

Suggested Citation

  • James R. Wolf & Hal R. Arkes & Waleed A. Muhanna, 2008. "The power of touch: An examination of the effect of duration of physical contact on the valuation of objects," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3(6), pages 476-482, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i:6:p:476-482

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sen, Sankar & Johnson, Eric J, 1997. " Mere-Possession Effects without Possession in Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 105-117, June.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    3. Jeff T. Casey, 1995. "Predicting Buyer-Seller Pricing Disparities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(6), pages 979-999, June.
    4. Strahilevitz, Michal A & Loewenstein, George, 1998. " The Effect of Ownership History on the Valuation of Objects," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 276-289, December.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justin S. Skillman & Michael J. Vernarelli, 2016. "Framing effects on bidding behavior in experimental first-price sealed-bid money auctions," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(4), pages 391-400, July.
    2. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2014. "Imperfect memory and choice under risk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 127-158.
    3. repec:spr:amsrev:v:5:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s13162-015-0066-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Marcel Lichters & Marko Sarstedt & Bodo Vogt, 2015. "On the practical relevance of the attraction effect: A cautionary note and guidelines for context effect experiments," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, June.
    5. De Coninck Julie, 2011. "Reinvigorating Comparative Law through Behavioral Economics? A Cautiously Optimistic View," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(3), pages 711-736, December.


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