The Power of Touch: An Examination of the Effect of Duration of Physical Contact on the Valuation of Objects
James R. Wolf Jr.
Illinois State University
Hal R. Arkes
Ohio State University - Department of Psychology
Waleed A. Muhanna
The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business
August 1, 2008
Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 476-482, August 2008
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).
Keywords: duration-of-exposure effect, length-of-ownership effect, behavioral economics, pseudo-endowment effect, consumer decision making
JEL Classification: D1, D12, D80, M30Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 19, 2008 ; Last revised: June 1, 2011
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