Why are we attached to our things?

We all like to have ‘our stuff’– items that we’re attached to and that we feel belong to us. These might be family heirlooms or expensive gadgets we worked hard to afford. But where exactly does this feeling of attachment to things come from?

In this enlightening Ted Talk, Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr Christian Jarrett explains why, even as children, the desire to attach worth to inanimate objects is so strong. He describes that it all starts when we’re babies, in what psychologists term the ‘endowment effect’. This is where we begin to value items much more highly in the moments that we come to own them. If given the choice between an item (let’s say a shiny red bicycle) that we choose for ourselves and an exact replica, research shows we almost always stay with our first choice.

It’s a fascinating video that sheds light on how our brains work. Well worth the watch if you have a spare four minutes.

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