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The psychology of stuff and things | The Psychologist

https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-26/edition-8/psychology-stuff-and-things

thepsychologist.bps.org.uk

The psychology of stuff and things | The Psychologist

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Attraction Towards Stuff

Attraction Towards Stuff

Right from childhood, we are attracted to things that we can call our own, stuff like clothes, toys, bags, and books, later morphing into adult toys like cars, jewellery, furniture, Playstations and iPhones.

These possessions become our extension and eventually our legacy.

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Kids And Possessions

  • In children, attachment to certain objects like a favourite toy or blanket is common.
  • They can rebel or move to tears when made to part with the object they are attached to, as a deep bond is formed.
  • The object aids the kid’s transition to adulthood and is more common when they are not attached to their parents.

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Attachment To Objects: Mid Adolescence

Being happy with material goods peaks during the formative years, when new experiences make the teenager’s already fragile self-esteem fluctuate. A sense of self-worth and respect makes them less prone to attachment towards materialist objects.

Pre-teen girls identify so much with material objects like clothes, that if they exchange it with each other, it feels that they have shared their identity.

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Material Possessions in Adulthood

  • The first car is often the main symbol of identity, with young adults seeing it as an extension of themselves.
  • The house becomes the extension of the physical body and is a clear reflection on the image the owner wants to convey.
  • Research shows that a fragile ego and powerlessness are triggers to buy high-status products, as it offsets the inner inadequateness.
  • Our possession signals our status and availability to others.

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Conspicuous Consumption

Wearing luxury clothes has social benefits, as a study shows it helps in getting a job or soliciting money for charity, and much like a uniform can communicate about one’s membership or affiliation to certain clubs, groups, or sports teams.

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Loss And Disposal Of Our Belongings

The loss of material possessions often comes as a form of death to many, as many victims of theft or mugging feel a certain psychological loss, which is greater than the financial value of the stolen item.

Many also see the disposal of possessions as a liberating feeling full of closure and growth, as they finish a chapter of their lives and start another.

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Possessions In The Old Age

  • The elderly form bonds with their personal belongings and at the same time feel nostalgic about the brands when they were young. The attachment towards stuff deepens as the age goes by, cherished and preserved by them to remember the old times gone by.
  • The possessions form a link towards their younger selves, memories and relationships, and become family heirlooms after their death.
  • The stuff that celebrities use fetches good money in auctions after they die, as people try to find the essence of the person in the item.

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Our Digital Possessions

As the world goes increasingly digital, our online identity becomes the primary way to tell the world about our possessions, likes, dislikes and desires.

Our self has extended itself in our digital possessions, which create the same kind of attachment as older people have with physical objects.

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The Problem Of Hoarding

Holding on to one’s belongings, when taken to the extreme, becomes a serious problem of hoarding when the owners are reluctant to ever part with their collectables.

Hoarding disorder is a growing problem and can be the reason for fire hazards and even other mental disorders stemming from the clutter.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Hoarding

Hoarding

Severe hoarding afflicts about one in every fifty people.

Their compulsion causes the hoarders to suffer mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. Relationships ...

Hoarding is a type of OCD

Hoarding is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Hoarding is accompanied by varying levels of anxiety and often, depression as well. Peculiar commonalities among hoarders include severe emotional attachment to inanimate objects and extreme anxiety when making decisions.

Symptoms of a hoarding disorder

Hoarding can be just a personal preference, but it can be viewed as a disorder when that behavior starts to negatively impact daily functioning. Symptoms of a hoarding disorder:

  • There is difficulty getting rid of possessions, regardless of their value or lack thereof.
  • The difficulty in discarding possessions is due to distress associated with getting rid of them.
  • The difficulty in discarding possessions leads to clutter and compromise of living spaces.
  • Hoarding creates clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning, including the ability to maintain a safe space.

one more idea

Digital hoarding

Is the reluctance to get rid of the digital clutter we accumulate through our work and personal lives, to the point of loss of perspective, which eventually results in stress and disorganisati...

Recognize digital hoarding problems

How can you tell if you have a digital hoarding problem?

Think back over the last week and see if you can remember a time when you struggled to find a digital file on your phone or computer – maybe someone’s address in an email chain, or a really great cocktail you Instagrammed for posterity.

Digital hoarding and online storage

Platforms like Google Drive are “open temptations” for hoarding because they make it so easy for us to accumulate files and almost never prompt us to review them, The sense that something is retrievable if we just store it somewhere provides a false sense of security. And there’s plenty of storage available

Hoarding Isn’t About Stockpiling

Hoarding Isn’t About Stockpiling

Hoarding is a serious psychiatric disorder which has been witnessed by doctors for centuries, and is not some behavioural trait of otherwise normal people.

Symptoms of this...

Confusion Over Discarding

  • Most people would think a hoarder would have clutter all around the house. The reality is that they have difficulties deciding on what to discard, and typically hoard their clothes, shoes, tools, household supplies, newspapers and mail.
  • Hoarding disorder impacts one’s marital life, increases medical illness, anxiety and depression, makes people suicide prone and even cognitively impaired. Not to mention the problems that arise from keeping things stored for long in the basement or cupboard.

Problems With Hoarding

Apart from mental issues, hoarding increases the chances of:

  1. Risk of falls or tripping.
  2. Infestation.
  3. Unsafe living conditions.
  4. Fire.
  5. Lost work days.