Social traces of generic humans increase the value of everyday objects

Job, V. and Nikitin, J. and Zhang, S. X. and Carr, P. B. and Walton, G. M.. (2017) Social traces of generic humans increase the value of everyday objects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43 (6). pp. 785-792.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/55587/

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Past research finds that people behave as though the particular qualities of specific, strongly valenced individuals “rub off” on objects. People thus value a sweater worn by George Clooney but are disgusted by one worn by Hitler. We hypothesized that social traces of generic humans can also adhere to objects, increasing their value. Experiments 1 and 2 found that simply marking that consumer products (mugs, giftwrap) were made by generic strangers (e.g., “by people using machines” vs. “by machines run by people”) increased their perceived value. Experiment 3 demonstrated that this effect was mediated by thoughts about attention the object received from other people, which, in turn, led people to see the object as possessing more positive social qualities (e.g., friendly), increasing valuation. The results suggest that generic humans are perceived positively, possessing warm social qualities, and these can “rub off” and adhere to everyday objects increasing their valu.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Entwicklungs- und Persönlichkeitspsychologie (Nikitin)
UniBasel Contributors:Nikitin, Jana
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Oct 2017 10:23
Deposited On:16 Oct 2017 09:32

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