I Own, so i Help Out: How Psychological Ownership Increases Prosocial Behavior

Ata Jami*, Maryam Kouchaki, Francesca Gino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the consequences of psychological ownership going beyond the specific relationship with the possession to guide behavior in unrelated situations. Across seven studies, we find that psychological ownership leads to a boost in self-esteem, which encourages individuals to be more altruistic. In addition, we show that the effect of psychological ownership on prosocial behavior is not driven by self-efficacy, perceived power, reciprocity, feeling well-off, or affect. Examining materialism and mine-me sensitivity as individual differences moderating the effect of psychological ownership on prosocial behavior, we find that the effect does not hold for individuals low on materialism or mine-me sensitivity. Finally, we attenuate the effect of psychological ownership on prosocial tendencies by making the negative attributes of one's possessions relevant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-715
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Keywords

  • altruism
  • materialism
  • mine-me sensitivity
  • possessions
  • prosocial behavior
  • psychological ownership
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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