Sentimental Value and its Influence on Hedonic Adaptation

81 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2015

See all articles by Yang Yang

Yang Yang

University of Florida

Jeff Galak

Carnegie Mellon University

Date Written: August 11, 2015


Sentimental value is a highly prevalent, yet largely under-studied phenomenon. We introduce the construct of sentimental value and investigate how and why sentimental value influences hedonic adaptation. Across seven studies, we examine the antecedents of sentimental value and demonstrate its effect on hedonic adaptation using both naturally occurring and experimentally manipulated items with sentimental value. We further test the underlying process linking sentimental value and hedonic adaptation by showing that whereas feature-related utility decreases for all items with time, sentimental value typically does not, and that sentimental value moderates the influence of the decrement in feature-related utility on hedonic adaptation. Moreover, this moderating effect of sentimental value is driven by a shift in focus from features of the item to the associations that item possess. We conclude with a discussion of related phenomena and implications for individuals.

Keywords: sentimental value, satiation, hedonic adaptation

Suggested Citation

Yang, Yang and Galak, Jeff, Sentimental Value and its Influence on Hedonic Adaptation (August 11, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Yang Yang

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States


Jeff Galak (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-5810 (Phone)


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