The Power of Touch: An Examination of the Effect of Duration of Physical Contact on the Valuation of Objects

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 476-482, August 2008

Posted: 19 Sep 2008 Last revised: 1 Jun 2011

See all articles by James R. Wolf

James R. Wolf

Illinois State University

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology

Waleed A. Muhanna

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business

Date Written: August 1, 2008

Abstract

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, M30

Suggested Citation

Wolf, James R. and Arkes, Hal R. and Muhanna, Waleed A., The Power of Touch: An Examination of the Effect of Duration of Physical Contact on the Valuation of Objects (August 1, 2008). Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 476-482, August 2008 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1270186

James R. Wolf

Illinois State University ( email )

Campus Box 5150
Normal, IL 61761
United States

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

240N Lazenby Hall
1885 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-1592 (Phone)
614-688-3984 (Fax)

Waleed A. Muhanna (Contact Author)

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business ( email )

Dept. Accounting & Management Information Systems
2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-3808 (Phone)
614-292-2118 (Fax)

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