Why We Keep Things

Catherine Strawn | July 2, 2008 - 1:30 pm

In a study by Stanford researchers, when people were given the choice between an iPod and $100, most chose the money. But when they were given an iPod and asked whether they’d like to trade it for $100, they were more likely to keep the iPod. Clearly, the amount of money the iPod is worth wasn’t an issue, nor was how much the subjects liked the iPod, and researcher Brian Knutson calls this the endowment effect. Basically, when something is yours, you want to protect and keep it, even if you don’t really like it. This explains why I have a junk drawer of things I don’t really want or need — I haven’t evolved enough to stop hoarding. [LiveScience]