The more secure you feel, the less you value your stuff, research shows

Mar 03, 2011

People who feel more secure in receiving love and acceptance from others place less monetary value on their possessions, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

The research was conducted by Edward Lemay, assistant professor of psychology at UNH, and colleagues at Yale University. The research is presented in the in the article "Heightened interpersonal security diminishes the monetary value of possessions."

Lemay and his colleagues found that people who had heightened of interpersonal security – a sense of being loved and accepted by others – placed a lower monetary value on their possession than people who did not.

In their experiments, the researchers measured how much people valued specific items, such as a blanket and a pen. In some instances, people who did not feel secure placed a value on an item that was five times greater than the value placed on the same item by more secure people.

"People value possessions, in part, because they afford a sense of protection, insurance, and comfort," Lemay says. "But what we found was that if people already have a feeling of being loved and accepted by others, which also can provide a sense of protection, insurance, and comfort, those possessions decrease in value."

The researchers theorize that the study results could be used to help people with hoarding disorders.

"These findings seem particularly relevant to understanding why people may hang onto goods that are no longer useful. They also may be relevant to understanding why family members often fight over items from estates that they feel are rightfully theirs and to which they are already attached. Inherited items may be especially valued because the associated death threatens a person's sense of personal security," Lemay says.

Explore further: Controlling childbirth pain tied to lower depression risk

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People Think They Reap What They Sow

May 31, 2007

People gauge how responsive their partners are primarily by how they themselves respond to their partners—not the other way around, according to a series of Yale studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. ...

Recommended for you

Controlling childbirth pain tied to lower depression risk

7 hours ago

Controlling pain during childbirth and post delivery may reduce the risk of postpartum depression, writes Katherine Wisner, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine® perinatal psychiatrist, in a July 23 editorial in Anesthesia & An ...

How children categorize living things

16 hours ago

How would a child respond to this question? Would his or her list be full of relatives, animals from movies and books, or perhaps neighborhood pets? Would the poppies blooming on the front steps make the list or the oak tree ...

Preschoolers can reflect on what they don't know

16 hours ago

Contrary to previous assumptions, researchers find that preschoolers are able to gauge the strength of their memories and make decisions based on their self-assessments. The study findings are published in ...

User comments : 0