"When labor leads to love," a paper
in the Journal of Consumer Psychology
experimentally tests "the Ikea effect" that leads to people valuing things that they assemble, customize or build themselves more highly than premade, finished goods. We've all heard the story of how cake-mixes didn't sell until they were reformulated to require the "cook" to stir in a fresh egg, but most of what we know about this effect is marketing lore, not research. It's fascinating stuff.
Experiment 1A: Participants either inspected an IKEA pre-built box or assembled it themselves. Afterward, they were asked to bid on the box they had either seen or built. If their bid was above a random number, they would pay that amount to keep the box; if it was lower, they couldn’t keep it. Participants were also asked to self-report on the value of the box. An effect was found in both cases; on average, participants bid 62% more when they built the box versus when they simply inspected it. On average, participants also self-reported liking the self-built box more than the inspected boxes.
Unfolding the IKEA Effect: Why We Love the Things We Build
Experiment 1B: A similar design as Experiment 1A was used, except replacing IKEA boxes with origami cranes and frogs. There were no differences in value between the types of origami (cranes vs frogs), although participants bid 460% more for their own origami creations versus ones created by others, almost the market-driven value of cranes and frogs created by origami experts. The authors also discovered that participants thought others would value their origami creations highly, despite assigning little value to the amateur creations of others.
Experiment 2: Participants built small Lego sets (10 to 12 pieces) in pairs and were asked to bid on their own and their partners’ sets. Participants were either given a built Lego set (prebuilt condition), asked to build a Lego set (build condition), or asked to build a Lego set and then take it apart (unbuild condition). Participants universally applied more value to their own sets versus those of their partners. Most interestingly, the unbuild condition only produced slightly higher values than the prebuilt condition, while the build condition produced much larger values. Apparently, we placed increased value on assembled objects only if they are completed. Sounds pretty Gestalt to me.
Experiment 3: Participants were asked to built an IKEA box once again, but this time, a random half of participants were stopped halfway through construction. As expected, incomplete items were not valued as highly as completed items – especially interesting since a successful bid would mean that the participant could finish building the item later.
(Image: What's Next?, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from seanhobson's photostream)
Legalist is a startup founded by Thiel Fellow Eva Shang and Christian Haigh, backed by Y Combinator: it will use data-mining to identify people who have been legally wronged by deep-pocketed aggressors and offer to finance their litigation in return for a share of the winnings.
The new Ikea Catalog is making a big bet on very small living spaces — the kind of place that costs more than half your monthly salary but is too small for a dinner-table, let alone a separate room for your kids, who are supposed to sleep in a bunk-bed in the living room (“Why […]
Retired Brigadier General John Adams served for 30 years, including a stint as a military intelligence officer: in an op-ed in The Hill, he says that while he supports trade deals, the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade, and will hasten America’s de-industrialization, making it harder for the US military […]
These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction. This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, […]
If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash. MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan […]
The Lytro Illum is our all-time best-selling camera and here’s our best deal yet. Apply the code “Lytro10” to save an extra 10% off on this camera’s mind-blowing functionality in this exclusive one day only sale.