Grasping the concept of ownership: The effects of ownership on our physical interactions with objects

Moodie, Rebecca (2015). Grasping the concept of ownership: The effects of ownership on our physical interactions with objects Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Moodie, Rebecca
Thesis Title Grasping the concept of ownership: The effects of ownership on our physical interactions with objects
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ada Kritikos
Total pages 72
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
Our possessions play an integral part in our daily lives. Recent evidence suggests that the concept of ownership may be represented in our visuomotor system such that it influences our interactions with owned objects. In this thesis, I aimed to determine whether merely verbally assigning ownership was sufficient to change participants’ physical interactions with self- and other-owned objects. I also sought to determine whether participants’ relationship with the other-owner and their empathic ability modulated the strength of ownership effects. In my study, participants (N = 62) reached towards a series of cards. Each card had a shape orientation on it that denoted that it was self-owned or other-owned. Depending on the group participants were assigned to, the other-owner could be their mother (i.e., a close other) or the experimenter (i.e., a previously unfamiliar other). The kinematic parameters of reaches were measured using motion capture cameras. After completing this reaching task, participants completed the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy. Contrary to the extended self literature which suggests that we should treat mother-owned property similarly to selfowned property, participants reached faster for self-owned cards than mother-owned cards. However, consistent with extended self theory, participants had a wider maximum grasp aperture (peak grasp) for self-owned cards than experimenter-owned cards. In contrast to previous studies, no ownership effects were observed in the horizontal (X) deviation of reaches or grasp opening velocity. Reasons for these unexpected findings are discussed, including the possibility that participants failed to associate self-ownership with value, thus suppressing the ownership effect. Higher affective empathy levels were associated with weaker ownership effects for X deviation, providing preliminary evidence that empathic abilities may modulate the strength of ownership effects. However, this effect was not found for the other kinematic parameters, possibly due to my small sample size. I concluded that merely assigning ownership is sufficient to change our physical interactions with objects, and our relationship with other-owners and empathic abilities can influence this effect.
Keyword Ownership

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Created: Mon, 21 Mar 2016, 13:41:58 EST by Lisa Perry on behalf of School of Psychology