The Price of Ownership: An Evaluation of Digital and Tangible Items
Level of Education of Students Involved
Arts and Sciences
In this study, we investigate the perceived nature of digital and physical goods. Digital goods have increased in number as technological advances continue to interact with consumerism. Because of this, digital and physical goods have been set up as rivals in the market, and understanding their relationship with psychological ownership seemed a perfect next step in data collection. We hypothesized that if a good has a higher perceived capacity for psychological ownership, then it will be valued at a higher rate than goods that have a low perceived capacity for psychological ownership. Participants (N = 16) were students enrolled in a research methods in psychology course. Through a survey, participants indicated how much they would pay for a given item, either digital or physical, and how much psychological ownership they felt for each good. We found that digital goods are valued less than physical goods and have a lesser sense of psychological ownership. The results we have found have large implications for how our preferences lie when it comes to physical and digital possessions. By using the data we found in this study, we have determined that people still prefer physical items even when living in a digital era.
Brainerd, Rachael; Wlodarczyk, Ethan; and Pagan, Cristian, "The Price of Ownership: An Evaluation of Digital and Tangible Items" (2023). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 1225.