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When my object becomes me: The mere ownership of an object elevates domain-specific self-efficacy

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  • Victoria Wai-lan Yeung
  • Steve Loughnan
  • Yoshihisa Kashima
  • Vivian Miu-chi Lun
  • Susanna Siu-sze Yeung

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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Yeung, V. W.-l., Loughnan, S., Kashima, Y., Lun, V. M.-C. and Yeung, S. S.-s. (2017), When My Object Becomes Me: The Mere Ownership of an Object Elevates Domain-Specific Self-Efficacy. Applied Psychology, 66: 710–741. doi:10.1111/apps.12099, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apps.12099/abstract. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 425 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-741
JournalApplied Psychology: An International Review
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jul 2017


Past research on the mere ownership effect has shown that when people own an object, they perceive the owned objects more favorably than the comparable non-owned objects. The present research extends this idea, showing that when people own an object functional to the self, they perceive an increase in their self-efficacy. Three studies were conducted to demonstrate this new form of the mere ownership effect. In Study 1, participants reported an increase in their knowledge level by the mere ownership of reading materials (a reading package in Study 1a, and lecture notes in Study 1b). In Study 2, participants reported an increase in their resilience to sleepiness by merely owning a piece of chocolate that purportedly had a sleepiness-combating function. In Study 3, participants who merely owned a flower essence that is claimed to boost creativity reported having higher creativity efficacy. The findings provided insights on how associations with objects alter one's self-perception.

    Research areas

  • mere ownership, perception, self-enhancement, self-efficacy

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