Recent studies have demonstrated that the ownership of a product leads to a biased perception of its aspects. Based on research on embodied cognition, we argue that the physical action of hand washing can reset the cognitive system to a more neutral state by reducing the asymmetrical perception of owned and not owned products. In three studies, we examined the effects of hand washing on the endowment effect by asking owners of a product to exchange it for a similar one. As expected, in Experiment 1, we showed that hand washing doubled the percentage of participants who exchanged an owned product for an alternative product. In Experiment 2, we replicated this finding and showed that only the action of hand washing and not a prime of physical cleaning elicited this effect. In Experiment 3, we again replicated the hand washing effect on exchange rates and examined the effect of hand washing on product evaluations. The results of all experiments suggest that hand washing reduces decision preferences that are biased by ownership.
|Pages (from-to)||284 - 289|
|Journal||Journal of Consumer Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sept 2014|