Valence and ownership: object desirability influences self-prioritization

Abstract

Research has demonstrated that possession exerts a potent influence on stimulus processing, such that objects are categorized more rapidly when owned-by-self than when they belong to other people. Outstanding theoretical questions remain, however, regarding the extent of this self-prioritization effect. In particular, does ownership enhance the processing of objects regardless of their valence or is self-prioritization restricted to only desirable items? To address this issue, here we explored the speed with which participants categorized objects (i.e., desirable and undesirable posters) that ostensibly belonged to the self and a best friend. In addition, to identify the cognitive processes supporting task performance, data were submitted to a hierarchical drift-diffusion model (HDDM) analysis. The results revealed a self-prioritization effect (i.e., RTself < RTfriend) for desirable posters that was underpinned by differences in the efficiency of stimulus processing. Specifically, decisional evidence was extracted more rapidly from self-owned posters when they were desirable than undesirable, an effect that was reversed for friend-owned posters. These findings advance understanding of when and how valence influences self-prioritization during decisional processing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    Based on a medium effect size, G*Power (d = 0.50, α = 0.05, power = 80%) revealed a requirement of 34 participants. For complete counterbalancing, 40 participants were recruited.

  2. 2.

    A paired sample t test revealed that errors were faster than correct responses (respective Ms: 578 ms (SD = 155 ms) vs. 616 ms (SD = 80 ms), t (39) = 2.04, p = 0.049, dz = 0.32).

  3. 3.

    Bayesian p values quantify the degree to which the difference in the posterior distribution is consistent with the hypothesis that the parameter is greater for self-owned than friend-owned responses. For example, a Bayesian p of 0.05 indicates that 95% of the posterior distribution supports the hypothesis.

References

  1. Alicke, M. D., & Sedikides, C. (2009). Self-enhancement and self-protection: What they are and what they do. European Review of Social Psychology, 20, 1–48.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barrett, L. F., Mesquita, B., Ochsner, K. N., & Gross, J. J. (2007). The experience of emotion. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 373–403.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Baumeister, R. F. (1998). The self. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (pp. 680–740). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is stronger than good. Review of General Psychology, 5, 323–370.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Beggan, J. K. (1992). On the social nature of nonsocial perception: The mere ownership effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 229–237.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Belk, R. W. (1988). Possessions and the extended self. Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 139–168.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Belk, R. W. (2014). The extended self unbound. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 22, 133–134.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Cacioppo, J. T., & Gardiner, W. L. (1999). Emotion. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 191–214.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Carstensen, L. L., & Turk-Charles, S. (1994). The salience of emotion across the adult life span. Psychology and Aging, 9, 259–264.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Charles, S. T., Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2003). Aging and emotional memory: The forgettable nature of negative images for older adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 132, 310–324.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Constable, M. D., Welsh, T. N., Huffman, G., & Pratt, J. (2019). I before U: Temporal order judgments reveal a bias for self-owned objects. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 589–598.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Correll, J., Wittenbrink, B., Crawford, M. T., & Sadler, M. S. (2015). Stereotypic vision: How stereotypes disambiguate visual stimuli. Journal of personality and social psychology, 108, 219–233.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Cunningham, S. J., Turk, D. J., Macdonald, L. M., & Macrae, C. N. (2008). Yours or mine? Ownership and memory. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 312–318.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. D'Argembeau, A., Collette, F., Van der Linden, M., Laureys, S., Del Fiore, G., Degueldre, C., Luxen, A., & Salmon, E. (2005). Self-referential reflective activity and its relationship with rest: a PET study. Neuroimage, 25, 616–624.

    Google Scholar 

  15. D’Argenbeau, A., & van der Linden, M. (2008). Remembering pride and shame. Self-enhancement and the phenomenology of autobiographical memory. Memory, 16, 538–547.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Dan-Glauser, E. S., & Scherer, K. R. (2011). The Geneva affective picture database (GAPED): A new 730-picture database focusing on valence and normative significance. Behavior Research Methods, 43, 468–477.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Dunning, D., Heath, C., & Suls, J. M. (2004). Flawed self-assessment: Implications for health, education, and the workplace. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5, 69–106.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Durbin, K. A., Mitchell, K. J., & Johnson, M. K. (2017). Source memory that encoding was self-referential. The influence of stimulus characteristics. Memory, 25, 1191–1200.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  19. Epley, N., & Gilovich, T. (2004). Are adjustments insufficient? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 447–460.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Falbén, J. K., Golubickis, M., Balseryte, R., Persson, L. M., Tsamadi, D., Caughey, S., & Macrae, C. N. (2019). How prioritized is self-prioritization during stimulus processing? Visual Cognition, 27, 46–51.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Golubickis, M., Falbén, J. K., Cunningham, W. A., & Macrae, C. N. (2018). Exploring the self-ownership effect: Separating stimulus and response biases. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44, 295–306.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Golubickis, M., Falbén, J. K., Sahraie, A., Visokomogilski, A., Cunningham, W. A., Sui, J., & Macrae, C. N. (2017). Self-prioritization and perceptual matching: The effects of temporal construal. Memory and Cognition, 45, 1223–1239.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Golubickis, M., Ho, N. S. P., Falbén, J. K., Mackenzie, K. M., Boschetti, A., Cunningham, W. A., & Macrae, C. N. (2019). Mine or mother’s? Exploring the self-ownership effect across cultures. Culture and Brain, 7, 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., Rudman, L. A., Farnham, S. D., Nosek, B. A., & Mellott, D. S. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem, and self-concept. Psychological Review, 109, 3–25.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Heatherton, T. F. (2011). Neuroscience of self and self-regulation. Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 363–390.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319–340.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Huang, Y., Wang, L., & Shi, J. (2009). When do objects become more attractive? The individual and interactive effects of choice and ownership on object evaluation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 713–722.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Humphreys, G. W., & Sui, J. (2016). Attentional control and the self: The self-attention network (SAN). Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 5–17.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Ito, T. A., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2005). Variations on a human universal: Individual differences in positivity offset and negativity bias. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 1–26.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Ito, T. A., Cacioppo, J. T., & Lang, P. J. (1998). Eliciting affect using the International Affective Picture System: Trajectories through evaluative space. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 855–879.

    Google Scholar 

  31. James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology. New York: Henry-Holt & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Juth, P., Lundqvist, D., Karlsson, A., & Ohman, A. (2005). Looking for foes and friends: Perceptual and emotional factors when finding a face in the crowd. Emotion, 5, 379–395.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). Anomalies: The endowment effect, loss aversion, and status quo bias. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, 193–206.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Kass, R. E., & Raftery, A. E. (1995). Bayes factors. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 90, 773–795.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Krypotos, A.-M., Beckers, T., Kindt, M., & Wagenmakers, E.-J. (2015). A Bayesian hierarchical diffusion model decomposition of performance in approach–avoidance tasks. Cognition and Emotion, 29, 1424–1444.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Langford, Z. D., Schevernels, H., & Boehler, C. N. (2016). Motivational context for response inhibition influences proactive involvement of attention. Scientific Reports, 6, 35122. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep35122.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  37. Leary, M. R. (2007). Motivational and emotional aspects of the self. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 317–344.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Macrae, C. N., Visokomogilski, A., Golubickis, M., Cunningham, W. A., & Sahraie, A. (2017). Self-relevance prioritizes access to visual awareness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43, 438–443.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Macrae, C. N., Visokomogilski, A., Golubickis, M., & Sahraie, A. (2018). Self-relevance enhances the benefits of attention on perception. Visual Cognition, 26, 475–481.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2003). Aging and attentional biases for emotional faces. Psychological Science, 14, 409–415.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. McCoy, B., & Theeuwes, J. (2016). Effects of reward on oculomotor control. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116, 2453–2466.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Milstein, D. M., & Dorris, M. C. (2007). The influence of expected value on saccadic preparation. Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 4810–4818.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Miyakoshi, M., Nomura, M., & Ohira, H. (2007). An ERP study on self-relevant object recognition. Brain and Cognition, 63, 182–189.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Moran, J. M., Macrae, C. N., Heatherton, T. F., Wyland, C. L., & Kelley, W. M. (2006). Neuroanatomical evidence for distinct cognitive and affective components of self. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 1586–1594.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Morewedge, C. K., & Giblin, C. E. (2015). Explanations of the endowment effect: An integrative review. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 339–348.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Northoff, G., & Hayes, D. J. (2011). Is our self nothing but reward. Biological Psychiatry, 69, 1019–1025.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Peeters, G., & Czapinski, J. (1990). Positive-negative asymmetry in evaluations. The distinction between affective and informational negativity effects. European Review of Social Psychology, 1, 33–60.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Pessoa, L., & Engelmann, J. B. (2010). Embedding reward signals into perception and cognition. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 4, 17. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2010.00017.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  49. Ratcliff, R., & Childers, R. (2015). Individual differences and fitting methods for the two-choice diffusion model of decision making. Decision, 2, 237–279.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Ratcliff, R., & Rouder, J. N. (1998). Modeling response times for two-choice decisions. Psychological Science, 9, 347–356.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Ratcliff, R., Smith, P. L., Brown, S. D., & McKoon, G. (2016). Diffusion decision model: Current issues and history. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 260–281.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  52. Reuther, J., & Chakravarthi, R. (2017). Does self-prioritization affect perceptual processes? Visual Cognition, 25, 381–398.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Sedikides, C., & Gregg, A. P. (2008). Self-enhancement: Food for thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 102–116.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. Sedikides, C., & Strube, M. (1997). Self-evaluation. To thine own self be good, to thine own self be sure, to thine own self be true, and to thine own self be better. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 29, 209–269.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Siebold, A., Weaver, M. D., Donk, M., & van Zoest, W. (2015). Social salience does not transfer to oculomotor visual search. Visual Cognition, 23, 989–1019.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Sparks, S., Cunningham, S. J., & Kritikos, A. (2016). Culture modulates implicit ownership-induced self-bias in memory. Cognition, 153, 89–98.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. Spiegelhalter, D. J., Best, N. G., Carlin, B. P., & Van der Linde, A. (1998). Bayesian deviance, the effective number of parameters, and the comparison of arbitrarily complex models (Research Report 98 – 009). Minneapolis, MN: Division of Biostatistics, University of Minnesota.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Stein, T., Siebold, A., & Zoest, M. V. (2016). Testing the idea of privileged awareness of self-relevant information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Sui, J., He, X., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Perceptual effects of social salience: Evidence from self-prioritization effects on perceptual matching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 1105–1117.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Sui, J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2015). The integrative self: How self-reference integrates perception and memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 719–728.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  61. Sui, J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2017). The ubiquitous self: What can the properties of self-bias tell us about the self. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1396, 222–235.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Sui, J., & Rothstein, P. (2019). Self-prioritization and the attentional systems. Current Opinion in Psychology, 29, 148–152.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  63. Sui, J., Rothstein, P., & Humphreys, G. W. (2013). Coupling social attention to the self forms a network for personal significance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 7607–7612.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Truong, G., Roberts, K. H., & Todd, R. M. (2017). I saw mine first: A prior-entry effect for newly acquired ownership. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43, 192–205.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  65. Truong, G., & Todd, R. M. (2017). Soap opera: Self as object and agent in prioritizing attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29, 937–952.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Vandekerckhove, J., Tuerlinckx, F., & Lee, M. D. (2011). Hierarchical diffusion models for two-choice response times. Psychological Methods, 16, 44–62.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  67. Voss, A., Nagler, M., & Lerche, V. (2013). Diffusion models in experimental psychology. Experimental Psychology, 60, 385–402.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. Wade, G. L., & Vickery, T. J. (2018). Target self-relevance speeds visual search responses but does not improve search efficiency. Visual Cognition, 26, 563–582.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Walker, W. R., Skowronski, J. J., & Thompson, C. P. (2003). Life is pleasant—and memory helps to keep it that way! Review of General Psychology, 7, 203–210.

    Google Scholar 

  70. White, C. N., & Poldrack, R. A. (2014). Decomposing bias in different types of simple decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 385.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  71. Wieki, T. V., Sofer, I., & Frank, M. J. (2013). HDDM: Hierarchical Bayesian estimation of the drift-diffusion model in Python. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 7, 14. https://doi.org/10.3389/fninf.2013.00014.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Ye, Y., & Gawronski, B. (2016). When possessions become part of the self: Ownership and implicit self-object linking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 64, 72–87.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marius Golubickis.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the current experiment were approved by the ethical standards of the School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Ethics Review Board, and in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

All participants provided written, informed consent prior to their participation in the current experiment.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Golubickis, M., Ho, N.S.P., Falbén, J.K. et al. Valence and ownership: object desirability influences self-prioritization. Psychological Research 85, 91–100 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01235-w

Download citation