Psychological ownership: The implicit association between self and already-owned versus newly-owned objects
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Evidence from explicit measures (e.g. favourability ratings, valuations) has led to the prevalent hypothesis that owned objects become cognitively associated with self-concept. Using a novel version of the Implicit Association Test (self-object IAT), wherein participants categorized objects by colour, we evaluated implicit cognitive associations involving self with already-owned and newly-owned objects. We observed faster responses when self-related words required the same response key as the colour that incidentally corresponded to self-owned objects, irrespective of length of ownership. These findings suggest that participants efficiently form cognitive associations between self and self-owned objects within mere minutes of ownership induction and inspire questions about the extent to which length of ownership drives the strength of this association.
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