Mere-Possession Effects without Possession in Consumer Choice

14 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2013

See all articles by Sankar Sen

Sankar Sen

City University of New York - Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing & International Business

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Date Written: June 1, 1997

Abstract

In this article we examine whether and why preference for a good produced by its mere and arbitrary possession (i.e., a mere-possession effect) occurs even in the absence of actual possession. In two experiments, we demonstrate that merely possessing a coupon for a product, as opposed to the actual product, can increase consumers' preference for that option over its competitors' in real choices from meaningfully comparable choice sets. In addition, a characterization of the cognitive processes underlying this phenomenon, and its variation with individual perceptions of task meaningfulness, provides support for a loss-aversion account of consumers' possession-induced preferences for goods they do not actually possess.

Suggested Citation

Sen, Sankar and Johnson, Eric J., Mere-Possession Effects without Possession in Consumer Choice (June 1, 1997). Journal of Consumer Research, 1997, Vol. 24, p. 105-177. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2298729

Sankar Sen

City University of New York - Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing & International Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way, B12-240
New York, NY 10010-5585
United States

Eric J. Johnson (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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