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Description: Do you take parit in Black Friday or Boxing Day sales? These are retail events where items, often in very limited quantities, are available at deep discounts and shoppers who take part in person can sometimes be quite aggressive in their efforts to obtain a super but limited bargain. You have likely not analyzed the reasons why people behave in such ways, thinking, perhaps, that the explanation is obvious – limited supply + bargains + huge demand = cutthroat competition. But the point at which we decide that something is ‘ours’ and that others are messing with our stuff seems to happen well before we actually purchase the item and does not have to involve Black Friday or Boxing Day sales (they are just more dramatic examples). What might the concept of Psychological ownership involve? What sorts of variables might mediate or moderate our experiences of Psychological ownership? Think about these questions for a moment and then read the article linked below by a researcher who has looked at these questions and see how they have been examined and what the research suggests.

Source: Why do Black Friday shoppers throw punches over bargains? A marketing expert explains ‘psychological ownership’, Colleen P. Kirk, The Conversation.

Date: December 28, 2019

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Article Link:

So, would you have predicted that a server simply moving one’s coffee cup slightly would result in a 25% reduction in tip and a stated intention to not return to the restaurant in future? Fascinating thing this Psychological ownership. Have you ever thought about how online shopping carts might influence our online shopping? And what about the use of selfies as a way of asserting or strengthening Psychological ownership? While the marketing angles or tactics are obvious the fact that they could blow back when inventory limits in big sales thwart for Psychosocial ownership than they facilitate. We could view all of this as a bit frothy but understanding how we can or are being manipulated while shopping or simply wandering around online or in the real world is potentially vital to managing one’s well-being (and as foundations for a career in marketing!).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is Psychological ownership and when does it arise?
  2. What would you advise people to do in relation to the research reported in the linked article on Psychological ownership?
  3. What about your response to the previous question is unique to screen time and online shopping and what parts have been part of marketing to consumers for generations?

References (Read Further):

Kirk, C. P., Peck, J., & Swain, S. D. (2017). Property lines in the mind: Consumers’ psychological ownership and their territorial responses. Journal of Consumer Research, 45(1), 148-168.

Pierce, J. L., & Peck, J. (2018). The history of psychological ownership and its emergence in consumer psychology. In Psychological ownership and consumer behavior (pp. 1-18). Springer, Cham.

Kirk, C. P., & Swain, S. D. (2018). Consumer psychological ownership of digital technology. In Psychological ownership and consumer behavior (pp. 69-90). Springer, Cham.

Peck, J., & Luangrath, A. W. (2018). Looking ahead: Future research in psychological ownership. In Psychological Ownership and Consumer Behavior (pp. 239-258). Springer, Cham.

Swilley, E., & Goldsmith, R. E. (2013). Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Understanding consumer intentions on two major shopping days. Journal of retailing and consumer services, 20(1), 43-50.;sequence=1