Approaching Mine, Avoiding Yours: The Embodiment of Ownership

Barton, Tara (2014). Approaching Mine, Avoiding Yours: The Embodiment of Ownership Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Barton, Tara
Thesis Title Approaching Mine, Avoiding Yours: The Embodiment of Ownership
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ada Kritikos
Total pages 69
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary This thesis investigates the novel combination of three well-established paradigms: those of ownership, embodied cognition, and approach-avoidance. I gifted participants a mug to use and keep and I assigned a mug to myself to provide a behavioural comparison for responses. The mere ownership effect ensured participants valued their mug as soon as they received it. The theory of embodied cognition posits that our implicit attitudes can be expressed through our behaviours towards objects in our environment. Therefore, participants’ implicit preference for their own property should be evident in their responses in an approach-avoidance task. I expected participants to respond faster to self-owned mugs, be faster to make flexion arm movements, and be faster to approach self-owned mugs and faster to avoid experimenter-owned mugs. Experiment 1 did not show any of the predicted effects. However, the use of a gaming joystick to record stimuli response times eliminated the gross motor movements necessary to exhibit the implicit embodied attitudes in the approach-avoid movements. Experiment 2 replaced the joystick with a button press response style. Preliminary findings show participants are faster to make movements towards onscreen stimuli when primed by their own mug but not when primed by the experimenter’s mug. My results suggest that self-owned objects facilitate approach movements whereas other-owned objects inhibit approach movements. Results also raise questions about the automaticity of ownership processing. It has previously been assumed that ownership processing occurs at a pre-attentive level; however, results suggest ownership may require directed attentional resources under these particular constraints. Overall, it appears that self-owned objects are processed differently to other-owned objects and this is evident in the actions evoked by participants’ implicit attitudes in an approach-avoidance task.
Keyword Ownership
Behavioural comparison

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Created: Fri, 29 May 2015, 14:47:38 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology