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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

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Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (August)
Pages: 476-482

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Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i:6:p:476-482
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  1. Jeff T. Casey, 1995. "Predicting Buyer-Seller Pricing Disparities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(6), pages 979-999, June.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  3. Strahilevitz, Michal A & Loewenstein, George, 1998. " The Effect of Ownership History on the Valuation of Objects," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(3), pages 276-89, December.
  4. Carmon, Ziv & Wertenbroch, Klaus & Zeelenberg, Marcel, 2003. " Option Attachment: When Deliberating Makes Choosing Feel Like Losing," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 15-29, June.
  5. 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 1325-48, December.
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