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Feeling connected to objects is a fundamental – and fraught – part of human nature

From heirlooms to collectables to clothes, our self-image tends to extend well beyond our skin and into our things. While just how attached to possessions people are varies by culture, decades of research has shown that connecting with objects is a hard-wired part of being human. Scripted by Christian Jarrett, deputy editor of Aeon’s sister publication, Psyche, this playful TED-Ed animation takes a brief dive into what’s known as the ‘endowment effect’ – or the tendency of humans to place a disproportionately high value on the things they view as their own. Drawing from some of the most fascinating and telling studies conducted on the topic, the short video touches on the many (sometimes surprising) ways in which we imbue our things with meaning.

Video by TED-Ed

Writer: Christian Jarrett

Animator: Avi Ofer

7 December 2020

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