Past research on the mere ownership effect has shown that when people own an object, they perceive the owned objects more favorably than the comparable non-owned objects. The present research extends this idea, showing that when people own an object functional to the self, they perceive an increase in their self-efficacy. Three studies were conducted to demonstrate this new form of the mere ownership effect. In Study 1, participants reported an increase in their knowledge level by the mere ownership of reading materials (a reading package in Study 1a, and lecture notes in Study 1b). In Study 2, participants reported an increase in their resilience to sleepiness by merely owning a piece of chocolate that purportedly had a sleepiness-combating function. In Study 3, participants who merely owned a flower essence that is claimed to boost creativity reported having higher creativity efficacy. The findings provided insights on how associations with objects alter one's self-perception.
Bibliographical noteThe research was supported by the Direct Grant (DR12C2) from Lingnan University given to the first author.
YEUNG, V. W., LOUGHNAN, S., KASHIMA, Y., LUN, V. M-C., & YEUNG, S. S. (2017). When my object becomes me : the mere ownership of an object elevates domain-specific self-efficacy. Applied Psychology, 66(4), 710-741. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12099