Property Lines in the Mind: Consumers’ Psychological Ownership and Their Territorial Responses

Property Lines in the Mind: Consumers’ Psychological Ownership and Their Territorial Responses Abstract Psychological ownership, or the feeling that something is mine, has garnered growing attention in marketing. While previous work focuses on the positive aspects of psychological ownership, this research draws attention to the darker side of psychological ownership—territorial behavior. Results of five experimental studies demonstrate that when consumers feel psychological ownership of a target, they are prone to perceptions of infringement and subsequent territorial responses when they infer that another individual feels ownership of the same target. Potential infringers are held less accountable when they acknowledge ownership prior to engaging in otherwise threatening behaviors, and when they could not be expected to know that a target is owned, as it was not clearly marked. In addition, high narcissists are subject to a psychological ownership metaperception bias, and are thus more apt than low narcissists to perceive infringement. A multitude of territorial responses are documented for both tangible (coffee, sweater, chair, pizza) and intangible (a design) targets of ownership. Further, consumers infer the psychological ownership of others from signals of the antecedents of psychological ownership: control, investment of self, and intimate knowledge. Theoretical implications for territoriality and psychological ownership are discussed, along with managerial implications and areas for future research. psychological ownership, territoriality, infringement, narcissism, anthropomorphism, metaperception I’m so territorial over my shopping cart at the thrift store. That’s when everyone is out to get me most.         —Tweeted by Jess (2017) The concept of psychological ownership, or a feeling of “It’s mine!” (Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks 2003), has recently garnered significant attention in the marketing literature. Much of the work has focused on outcomes such as willingness to pay (Peck and Shu 2009), word of mouth (Kirk, McSherry, and Swain 2015), and purchase intentions (Spears and Yazdanparast 2014). In the present research, we illuminate the darker side of psychological ownership—its potential to manifest as territorial behavior (Brown, Lawrence, and Robinson 2005). Territoriality research (Brown et al. 2005) suggests people are sensitive to the property lines that define the boundaries of their various psychologically owned targets. Thus, the potential for perceived infringement and subsequent territorial responses may be particularly high in public contexts such as marketplaces. For example, a person who has a favorite table in a coffee shop or restaurant may feel disturbed to find another customer in their seat. Similarly, a sales clerk who takes pride in showing customers his offerings in his store may be inadvertently marking territory and thus putting off customers who seek their own connection to the offerings or the store. Intangible territories can also lead to perceptions of infringement. For example, Twitter user Allegra (Scarano 2017) reports, “Hey that Volvo commercial stole my favorite song,” and others regularly accuse each other of stealing ideas and hashtags. While territoriality may be common in the marketplace, existing research provides limited insight into its genesis—that is, how consumers decide whether they have been infringed. These decisions play a critical role in consumer welfare since infringement not only indicates a perceived threat to the self or one’s possessions, but also calls for assessments of whether or how to deploy potentially costly territorial responses. To shed light on this issue, we integrate theories on territoriality (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005) and psychological ownership (Brown, Pierce, and Crossley 2014; Peck and Shu 2009; Pierce et al. 2003) and find support for an account in which consumers perceive infringement and respond territorially depending on their own level of psychological ownership, their perceived communication of that ownership, and their perceptions of others’ psychological ownership signals (figure 1). Second, we provide the first evidence that consumers perceive others as engaging in territorial marking when they exhibit antecedent conditions of psychological ownership. Third, there is rising interest in the role of narcissism in modern society, yet this trait remains relatively unstudied in marketing contexts (de Bellis et al. 2016; Lee, Gregg, and Park 2013; Sedikides, Hart, and Cisek 2018). We contribute to this effort by revealing that consumers high (vs. low) in narcissism differ in their territorial responses. Finally, we build on the nascent literature on consumer territoriality by expanding the investigation from territories defined by physical spaces (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012) to include territories defined by objects and ideas (Brown and Baer 2015). FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide THEORETICAL MODEL FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide THEORETICAL MODEL CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES Psychological Ownership Psychological ownership, or perceived ownership (Peck and Shu 2009), refers to a state in which a consumer perceives that a target is closely connected to the self, that it is theirs (Pierce et al. 2003). Feelings of ownership can exist for various targets, from tangible objects such as mugs (Shu and Peck 2011) or T-shirts (Fuchs et al. 2010) to other people (Rudmin and Berry 1987), ideas (Baer and Brown 2012), or physical spaces (Rudmin and Berry 1987). Psychological ownership theory suggests that people develop feelings of ownership by any of three routes: exerting control over a target, investing themselves in a target, and coming to know a target intimately (Pierce et al. 2003). Controlling the right to use a product is a defining characteristic of a possession, and as children grow, they learn that taking control of an object can establish possession (Furby 1978). In fact, simply imagining touching a product can increase perceptions of controlling it, enhancing feelings of ownership (Peck, Barger, and Webb 2013). Investment of self refers to an investment of time, energy, or labor in a target, and we are likely to feel a sense of ownership for that which we “shape, create, or produce” (Norton, Mochon, and Ariely 2012; Pierce et al. 2003, 93). An investment of psychic energy leads to products that “are regarded as a part of self because they have grown or emerged from the self” (Belk 1988, 144). Consumers invest themselves by customizing (Franke, Schreier, and Kaiser 2010; Moreau, Bonney, and Herd 2011) or even imagining interacting with (Spears and Yazdanparast 2014) a product. We also develop feelings of ownership as we come to know a target intimately. We develop a “living relationship” with a product or brand by using it (Pierce et al. 2003, 92) or associating ourselves with it (Beggan and Brown 1994; Rudmin and Berry 1987), thus coming to know it intimately. Over time we become familiar not just with an object’s basic features but also with the ways that we believe it differs or becomes different from other objects of the same sort, facilitating feelings of ownership (Pierce et al. 2003). While often studied in the context of physical space (Edney 1974; Griffiths and Gilly 2012), a territory is a social construct, and a psychologically owned target becomes a territory when it is marked with respect to other people (Brown and Baer 2015). Belk (1988, 142) explains that “if possessions are viewed as part of self, it follows that an unintentional loss of possessions should be regarded as a loss or lessening of self.” Therefore, we propose that due to this threat of lessening of the self, when a consumer has high psychological ownership of a target, perceptions that another person feels ownership of the same target can result in territorial responses designed to restore and defend the psychologically owned territory. Territoriality Whereas psychological ownership refers to feelings of possession of a target, territoriality refers to behaviors, often motivated by psychological ownership, that focus on “constructing, communicating, maintaining, and restoring one’s attachment” to a target (Brown et al. 2005, 579). Of interest in this research are the defensive behaviors consumers exhibit when perceiving infringement, defined as an attempt by another individual to claim an entity that consumers believe they solely own (Brown 2009). Prior research distinguishes between anticipatory and reactionary defenses (Brown et al. 2005; Lyman and Scott 1967). Beyond simply communicating or marking one’s territorial boundaries, anticipatory defenses stem from fear of infringement and are intended to thwart future access to the target. Examples include using locks to prevent access to a space (Brown 2009) or deceptively stating that a neighboring seat in a coffee shop is occupied (Griffiths and Gilly 2012). In contrast, reactionary defenses stem from anger-eliciting events and are used to express negative emotions while thwarting infringement or reclaiming territory (Brown and Robinson 2011). Examples range from showing negative facial expressions (Brown and Robinson 2011) to using a public phone longer after an intrusion (Ruback, Pape, and Doriot 1989) to stronger forms of retaliation such as blocking a traffic lane after being tailgated (Fraine et al. 2007) or complaining to a manager about an employee (Ashley and Noble 2014). Territorial Marking and Psychological Ownership Signals According to Brown and Baer (2015, 1785), “the function of territorial marking is to communicate to others that something has been claimed so as to discourage access, usage, and infringement attempts.” Thus, understanding when consumers perceive territorial infringement from the communications and actions of others is key to determining when a consumer’s own psychological ownership will motivate territorial behaviors. Prior research focuses on control-oriented territorial marking (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Baer 2015; Griffiths and Gilly 2012). Exerting control over a target sends a clear signal of ownership feelings, and others’ control of an object is often the most salient evidence of possession (Furby 1978). For example, consumers signal control of space, such as seating in servicescapes, by using their belongings to mark their territory (Griffiths and Gilly 2012), and may attempt to control unpurchased products by squirreling clothing in a changing room and hiding items within a store for later retrieval. While control is an important form of marking, we suggest that consumers also perceive others as marking territory when they communicate, or signal, investment of self and feelings of intimate (unique) knowledge of a focal target. Consumers who invest themselves by voting on a T-shirt design, even without purchasing it, are more likely to feel a sense of ownership for the shirt and tell others about their involvement (Fuchs et al. 2010). Friedman (2010) demonstrates that a person whose investment of self is necessary for an object to be possessed—for example, a hunter who ensnares an animal hunted by someone else—is perceived to have a claim to partial legal ownership. Similarly, a consumer who supports a crowdfunded business may communicate their psychological ownership of its products by telling others about their investment. Further, demonstrating intimate knowledge of a target can also serve as a signal of ownership. For example, people who are seen in a photo with a product are perceived as having a greater claim to legal ownership of it (Beggan and Brown 1994). In another example, Disney World fans may signal ownership in online discussions by claiming possession of secrets about its construction and operation. Additionally, developmental researchers find that children believe “first possession” accords ownership rights (Friedman and Neary 2008)—an intuition echoed by adult consumers who signal intimate knowledge of products such as a musical act or a new technology by claiming they were the first in their social circle to adopt it. However, others’ signals of psychological ownership may not always lead consumers to respond territorially, even when consumers have high psychological ownership of the same target. In many cases, consumers may realize that they have not communicated, or marked, a territory to a person and thus are willing to discount a territorial threat—to cut the other person a break—and attribute their psychological ownership signal to a less self-threatening motive (Brown et al. 2005). We therefore expect that when consumers’ psychological ownership of a product is high and they perceive that another individual signals ownership of the same target, the strength of consumers’ infringement perception and territorial responses will depend on whether or not they believe their territory is clearly marked, or communicated, to others. We next present the results of five studies, each designed to test key predictions in figure 1. To enhance generalizability, the studies use various targets of ownership (coffee, artistic design, sweater, seating, pizza), infringing others (customers, service providers), consumption contexts (a restaurant, a nonprofit organization, a retail store, a sidewalk café, and an open-air market), and types of territorial responses (e.g., putting up barriers, retaliation, temporarily or permanently abandoning territory; see table 1). We also measure territorial responses in three different ways: behavioral observation, closed-ended questions, and open-ended questions. Table 1 Summary of Studies and Territorial Responses Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Table 1 Summary of Studies and Territorial Responses Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays STUDY 1: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES TRIGGERED BY AN OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL Study 1 tests the prediction that when a consumer feels psychological ownership of a target, another individual’s signal of psychological ownership of the same target elicits perceptions of infringement and subsequent territorial behaviors. We invite participants to a mock restaurant and elicit high psychological ownership of a cup of coffee by encouraging participants to customize it. We then manipulate a server’s psychological ownership signal by having them perform a control behavior (slightly move vs. not move the participant’s cup). Method Participants and Design The lab study was a two-level (server’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) single-factor randomized between-subjects design with 58 student participants. Touching a product promotes feelings of control, thus eliciting psychological ownership of the touched product (Peck et al. 2013). Thus, we argue that when consumers see another person touching a product, they believe that person is signaling feelings of ownership. Accordingly, in this study, the server signaled ownership of the participant’s coffee cup by either moving it or not moving it while inquiring about their dining experience. Six observers were trained in behavioral coding. While prior efforts to document consumers’ territorial responses in the marketplace have been scarce (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012), research in workplace contexts has catalogued a variety of defensive responses (Brown 2009; Brown and Robinson 2011). Observers were therefore asked to record a wide range of behaviors, including any action on the coffee cup, facial expressions, verbal expressions, or any other response to the server’s intervention. Observers were placed in an unobtrusive locale and instructed to watch each participant for 30 seconds after the server intervention. Each participant was observed independently by at least two people. Materials and Procedure Participants were invited in groups of eight to a restaurant study. Upon arriving, participants were told that the study’s purpose was to examine how experiential elements, such as music, scents, and customized coffee, affect attitudes toward a restaurant during solo dining. They were randomly assigned to one-person tables, each set with napkins and silverware. The tables were coded to tell the server whether to move or not move the coffee cup. Dividers separated the tables so that participants were unable to see other diners. A bar was dressed and set with pots of fresh brewed coffee. As prior research suggests that customizing a product (Moreau et al. 2011) leads to more intense feelings of psychological ownership, the bar was set with a selection of sugars, syrups, milks, and flavored powders, and participants were encouraged to creatively customize their coffee. A pretest with 60 MTurk participants confirmed that customization (vs. no customization) of a cup of coffee elicits high levels of psychological ownership of the coffee (M = 4.07 vs. M = 3.45; F(1, 58) = 5.18; p = .03; see web appendix A for details of all pretests). After being welcomed, participants were invited to customize their coffee at the bar. After they returned to their seats with the coffee, the server served them cake. A few minutes later, the server returned and asked, “Is everything okay?” and then either moved or did not move the coffee cup three inches parallel to the front of the participant. Restaurant patrons may feel that servers have implicit permission to move items on a table when acting within a service script. Thus, the server moved the cup in a nonfunctional fashion and did not convey a reason for doing so. A pretest with 119 MTurk participants confirmed that moving the coffee cup in this manner (M = 2.62) versus not moving it (M = 1.64; F(1, 75) = 19.02; p < .001) or moving it for a reason, such as to put down a water glass (M = 2.09; F(1, 76) = 4.13; p < .05), is more likely to be perceived by consumers as a server’s signal of psychological ownership. Reactionary territorial defenses include retaliatory behaviors (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Robinson 2011), and one way consumers might retaliate against an infringing service provider is to leave a smaller tip. Accordingly, participants were given an opportunity to tip the server. They received an envelope containing 10 dimes that they were told were theirs to keep, along with a second empty envelope in which they could place a tip. Measures We measured constructs using seven-point Likert-type scales (anchors: “strongly disagree/agree”; see web appendix B for all scale measures and reliabilities). Psychological ownership of the coffee was measured with five items adapted from prior research (Fuchs et al. 2010; Peck and Shu 2009) and included such statements as “I felt like the coffee I created was ‘my’ coffee.” Infringement perception was measured with three items (Ashley and Noble 2014) and included such statements as “The server infringed on my territory.” Anticipatory defensive behaviors are designed to thwart future infringements and can include temporary abandonment behaviors, such as leaving an area, or more permanent abandonment, such as deciding not to return to an establishment (Ashley and Noble 2014). Permanent abandonment can occur because consumers often view employees as representing the company and will, in many cases, infer that future infringements are probable due to poor employee training or oversight. Temporary abandonment was measured with three items, including “I would leave the restaurant as soon as possible after completing my meal,” while permanent abandonment was measured with two items, including “I would not come back to this restaurant” (Ashley and Noble 2014). Manipulation of the server’s psychological ownership signal was checked by the item, “The server moved my coffee cup on my table.” Results and Discussion Psychological ownership of the customized coffee was significantly higher than the scale midpoint of 4 (M = 5.27; t(57) = 7.77, p < .001) and did not differ by experimental condition (MMove = 5.18 vs. MNoMove = 5.38; F(1, 56) = .31; p = .58). Thus, psychological ownership of the target was successfully elicited. Similarly, participants in the move condition were more likely to recall the server as moving the coffee cup (MMove = 6.12 vs. MNoMove = 1.11; F(1, 56) = 167.76; p < .001). This confirms the server’s psychological ownership signal manipulation. Observer Comments The trained observers’ notes were subjected to thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006) by a researcher and an assistant blind to the participants’ experimental conditions. The following types of behaviors were observed: (a) positive expressions (smiling or expressing thanks), (b) negative expressions (frowning, looking awkward/startled), (c) gazing at the server, (d) gazing away from the server, (e) gazing at the cup, and (f) performing other actions such as nodding or stirring coffee. Each participant was then coded as performing (1) or not performing (0) the behavior. Initial coder agreement for the six categories was high: (a) 89%, (b) 97%, (c) 100%, (d) 91%, (e) 97%, and (f) 89%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Actions performed on the coffee cup (e.g., moving or drinking from it) were also tallied. Results of binary logistic regression analyses revealed that when the server moved (vs. did not move) the coffee cup, participants were less likely to respond with a positive facial or verbal expression (10.3% vs. 22.4%; χ2(1) = 5.51; p = .02), more likely to exhibit a negative facial expression (22.4% vs. 3.4%; χ2(1) = 7.20; p = .01), more likely to look away from the server (31.0% vs. 5.7%; χ2(1) = 11.40; p = .001), and more likely to move the coffee cup toward themselves (13.8% vs. 1.7%; χ2(1) = 4.02; p = .04). There were no significant effects (p > .30) on other neutral behaviors or expressions. Retaliation, Temporary and Permanent Abandonment, and the Mediating Role of Infringement Perception Consistent with the prediction that participants would seek to retaliate against a server’s territorial infringement, ANOVA results reveal that participants’ tips were significantly smaller when the server moved the coffee cup versus when she did not (M = $.62 vs. M = $.82; F(1, 56) = 4.62, p = .04). Perceived infringement was also greater (M = 3.08 vs. M = 1.49; F(1, 56) = 17.16, p < .001). Additionally, regression results indicate that participants who felt more infringed left smaller server tips (F(1, 56) = 16.73, B = –.10, p <.001). Finally, mediation analysis (Hayes 2013; PROCESS model 4) confirmed a significant negative indirect effect of the server’s psychological ownership signal on (a) the tip amount, (b) temporary abandonment, and (c) permanent abandonment through infringement perception. (Note: in this and all subsequent mediation analyses, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Hayes’s (2013) PROCESS models with 5,000 bootstrap samples, and are reported in web appendix C.) In sum, participants whose coffee cup was moved provided smaller tips and were more likely to want to leave the restaurant quickly and to intend not to return, and these effects were mediated by perceptions of infringement. Discussion Study 1 establishes that when a consumer feels psychological ownership of a target, another individual’s control-oriented signal of ownership of the same target provokes infringement perception and territorial behaviors. Whereas prior territoriality research frequently relies on self-reports of past incidents (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Robinson 2011), we provide experimental evidence of consumers’ actual territorial behaviors. To further explore such behavioral responses, we replicated study 1 using a field experiment in a different context (a convenience store) and with a different target of psychological ownership (personal space). In this study, consumers responded territorially by not picking up an infringer’s dropped pen and by leaving the store more quickly. These results are reported in web appendix D. While study 1 is illuminating, key questions remain. First, participants possessed high levels of psychological ownership of the coffee. Thus, it remains unclear whether this is a necessary condition for territorial responses to a psychological ownership signal. Second, the ownership target in study 1, a cup of coffee, was a tangible product. Since prior research finds that individuals can also come to feel psychological ownership for intangible targets such as a job (Pierce, Jussila, and Cummings 2009) or an idea (Baer and Brown 2012; Brown and Baer 2015), it is desirable to examine consumers’ territorial responses to intangible goods. Finally, moving someone else’s coffee cup, even in a service context, might be considered a social norm violation. Prior research finds that consumers are motivated to punish social norm violators due to a desire to restore or maintain social order (Lin, Dahl, and Argo 2013), thus offering an alternate account of our findings. This account contrasts with that of psychological ownership, which posits that consumers are motivated to punish territorial infringers to restore or maintain a personal claim to a territory or to express feelings about infringement (Brown 2009). Study 2 addresses these issues and enhances the generalizability of our findings by using a different marketplace context (a nonprofit organization) and an intangible good (an artistic design) as the ownership target. In addition, in study 2 we use investment of self, a second antecedent of psychological ownership, as the other’s psychological ownership signal. STUDY 2: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES WHEN CONSUMERS’ PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP IS HIGH (BUT NOT LOW) Method Participants and Design Study 2 employs a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (other’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) between-subjects design with 162 university students participating in exchange for course credit. Materials and Procedure Participants were told they were participating in a community service task for a (fictional) local nonprofit organization, Greenway Methods. Upon entering the laboratory, they were greeted by a confederate posing as a student volunteer assistant for the nonprofit. Participants were asked to decorate a folder which would later be used to hold environmental education materials for children. As in study 1, customization was used to elicit psychological ownership of the target. Participants were asked either to copy an existing folder design using stickers (low), or to create their own folder design using stickers and markers (high psychological ownership; Dahl and Moreau 2007; Franke et al. 2010). A pretest with 84 MTurk participants confirmed that creating (vs. copying) a folder design elicits higher psychological ownership (M = 4.16 vs. M = 2.22; F(1, 82) = 57.44; p < .001). Participants completed the folder design task on their own. When the participant was finished, the confederate assistant looked at the participant’s folder and said either, “I see you are finished” (no signal) or “I see you are finished. That looks just like my design” (other’s psychological ownership signal). The confederate was trained to deliver the statements without any affective cues (smiling, frowning, etc.) so as to eliminate confounding. A pretest with 65 MTurk participants confirmed that saying “That looks like my design” (vs. saying nothing about the design) is more likely to be seen as a signal of another individual’s psychological ownership of a folder design (MSignal = 3.79 vs. MNoSignal = 2.63; F(1, 59) = 12.33; p = .001). Measures Two behavioral outcomes were observed. First, as the assistant led each participant out of the lab, she dropped a pen, ostensibly unaware of the loss. The confederate documented whether participants picked up the pen and returned it. Second, after the survey, the experimenter asked participants whether they would stay to decorate another folder. Survey scales capturing additional anticipatory and defensive responses employed seven-point measures including infringement perception and temporary (leaving the nonprofit quickly) and permanent (not returning to the nonprofit) abandonment, measured as in the previous studies. In addition, we captured positive word-of-mouth intentions with three items including “I would recommend volunteering for Greenway Methods to my friends” (Alexandrov et al. 2013). Since social media might serve as a vehicle for consumers to communicate their psychological territories, especially as an anticipatory defense against future infringement, we also asked, “How likely would you be to post a selfie with the folder on social media?” with three bipolar response options such as likely/unlikely. We measured donation intention with a single item, “If you had exactly $100 to donate to a nonprofit organization, what is the most you would be willing to donate to Greenway Methods?” with response options in $10 increments from $0 to $100. An open-ended question asked, “What did you think about the Greenway Methods assistant?” Finally, to examine consumer punishment due to social norm violation as an alternate account, we measured perceived social norm violation with two items (Lin et al. 2013), including “Please rate the extent to which the assistant’s comments to you were a social norm violation” with anchors “not at all” and “very much.” Results and Discussion Results Results of ANOVA with infringement perception as the dependent variable and psychological ownership of the folder design and other’s ownership signal as the independent variables revealed main effects of psychological ownership (MHigh = 1.68; MLow = 1.33; F(1, 158) = 10.28; p < .01) and other’s ownership signal (MSignal = 1.73; MNoSignal = 1.27; F(1, 158) = 18.07; p < .001) on infringement perception. Further, the predicted interaction was significant (F(1, 158) = 5.63; p = .02; see figure 2). In support of our prediction, when the assistant signaled psychological ownership of the folder design, participants with high psychological ownership of the folder design reported higher infringement perception than those with low psychological ownership (MHigh= 2.04 vs. MLow = 1.43; F(1, 158) = 15.56; p < .001). However, infringement perception did not differ between ownership conditions when no other’s ownership signal was present (MHigh = 1.32 vs. MLow = 1.23; F(1, 158) = .35; p = .56). FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL Binary logistic regressions reveal that as perceived infringement increased, participants were less likely to (a) pick up and return the assistant’s dropped pen (53.7% picked up; odds ratio = .54, χ2(1) = 7.92, p < .01) and (b) to agree to decorate another folder (percent agreeing: 30.9%; odds ratio = .57, χ2(1) = 5.07, p = .04). Regression results further revealed that participants who felt infringed were more likely to (c) leave the nonprofit quickly (temporary abandonment; B = .46, t = 3.12, p < .01) and (d) not to return to volunteer again (permanent abandonment; B = .71, t = 4.85, p < .001). They were also more likely to communicate or mark their territory by (e) posting a selfie with the folder on social media (B = .49, t = 3.17, p < .01). Infringement was also negatively associated with (f) positive word of mouth (B = –.45, t = –3.27, p = .001) as well as (g) maximum donation amount (B = –3.80, t = –1.81, p = .07). We examined responses to the open-ended question, “What did you think about the Greenway Methods assistant?” for common themes and coded them using the same procedure as study 1. Three types of responses were observed: (h) positive (e.g., “nice”), (i) negative (e.g., “not enthusiastic about the organization”), or (j) neutral (e.g., “fine, not good or bad”). Participants were coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement was high: (h) 87.1%, (i) 94.5%, and (j) 92%, and discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Results of binary logistic regression reveal that as infringement perception increased, participants were less likely to (h) perceive the assistant positively (66% perceiving; odds ratio = .47, χ2(1) = 11.77, p = .001) and more likely to (i) perceive her negatively (19.8% perceiving; odds ratio = 1.94, χ2(1) = 7.74, p < .01). The association with (j) neutral comments was not statistically significant (8.6% perceiving; odds ratio = 1.54, χ2(1) = 1.77, p = .16). Bootstrap sampling (PROCESS model 7) confirmed that the conditional indirect effects of psychological ownership of the folder design on the dependent variables, with the exception of willingness to decorate another folder and neutral comments, through infringement perception were significant, but only when the assistant signaled ownership of the design (web appendix C). Finally, to assess social norm violation as an alternate account, the data were submitted to ANOVA with psychological ownership of the folder design and the assistant’s ownership signal as the independent variables, and social norm violation as the dependent variable. Results revealed a main effect of other’s ownership signal on social norm violation (MNoSignal = 1.32, MSignal = 1.77; F(1, 158) = 7.52; p < .01), but no significant interaction (p = .11). Thus, the data are not consistent with an account involving punishment due to social norm violation. Discussion In study 2, we replicated the effects of study 1 using an other’s psychological ownership signal derived from a second antecedent of psychological ownership, investment of self, along with an intangible target of ownership (an artistic design) and a different context (a nonprofit organization). Most importantly, we demonstrated that perceptions of infringement and territorial responses occur only when a consumer has relatively high psychological ownership of a contested target. We further documented actual retaliatory behaviors as well as additional anticipatory and reactionary defenses (Brown 2009). Study 2 also clarifies that consumer-enacted punishments associated with social norm violations versus territorial infringements have distinct motivational bases. Consumers’ punishment of social norm violators is motivated by desire to maintain or restore social order (Lin et al. 2013) and can be viewed as a form of altruism to benefit society (Fehr and Gachter 2002). Thus, these punishments can be delivered even by individuals who are not personally impacted by the social norm violation. For example, Lin et al. (2013) found that observers in a post office were likely to punish another consumer for cutting in front of a third consumer walking through a door with a stroller. In contrast, consumers’ punishments of territorial infringers are motivated by a desire to restore a personal claim to a territory or to provide an emotional expression of feelings about infringement (Brown 2009). Study 3 extends our investigation of territoriality by addressing limitations of studies 1 and 2. First, thus far the infringing other has always been a service provider (restaurant server and nonprofit assistant, respectively). However, consumers may also infringe on each other. Second, in many contexts, others ask for permission prior to crossing territorial boundaries, and such ownership concessions may reduce perceptions of infringement. Finally, an alternative account for our prior results is that the server’s touching of the cup or the nonprofit assistant’s investment of self in the same artistic design may have induced perceptions of contamination and feelings of disgust (Morales and Fitzsimons 2007). Such responses may resemble territoriality. Compared to studies 1 and 2, study 3 employs a different kind of infringer (another customer), a different marketing context (a retail store), and a different target of ownership (a sweater). We also probe for additional territorial responses using further open-ended questions. STUDY 3: CONSUMERS INFRINGE ON EACH OTHER WITHOUT (VS. WITH) PERMISSION Method Participants and Design Study 3 employs a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (other’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) between-subjects design with 146 MTurk participants. Similar to study 1, touch serves as the means of sending control-oriented signals of psychological ownership. Materials and Procedure Adapting procedures from prior research (Peck et al. 2013; Spears and Yazdanparast 2014), we manipulated psychological ownership of a sweater by asking participants to either merely consider a scenario (low psychological ownership) or to actively imagine themselves in the scenario (high psychological ownership). The scenario began, “You want to buy a sweater for an important upcoming social event with friends. At a retail store, you see a sweater that you think might be OK for this occasion. You bring it to the cash register.” Next followed a list of the sweater’s features (see web appendix A) and either “Please take a minute to evaluate the sweater” (low psychological ownership) or “Please take a minute to close your eyes and imagine you are touching the sweater. Please close your eyes while imagining. Imagine holding it in your hands. Think about how it would feel. For a minute, please close your eyes [YES, please really close your eyes!] as you are imagining touching and wearing the sweater” (high psychological ownership). A pretest with 54 MTurk participants confirmed that imagining touching and wearing the sweater elicited greater psychological ownership of the sweater than merely evaluating its features (M = 3.66 vs. M = 3.14; F(1,52) = 4.03; p = .05). After reading one of the two ownership scenarios in the main study, participants were told “Now, imagine you are waiting in line at the cash register to pay for the sweater. The sweater is sitting on the counter and you have not yet paid for it” and either “The customer in line behind you reaches out and touches the sweater” (other’s psychological ownership signal) or “The customer in line behind you asks you, ‘May I touch your sweater?’ After you consent, they reach out and touch the sweater” (no signal). A pretest with 61 MTurk participants confirmed that touching a sweater without (vs. with) permission is more likely to be seen as a signal of psychological ownership of the sweater (M = 2.34 vs. M = 1.72; F(1, 57) = 4.32; p = .04). Measures Infringement perception was measured as in study 1. We also measured two potential territorial responses. Separator bars are commonly available at checkout counters and can be used as an anticipatory defense to mark territory and enact a barrier to avoid future infringement. Thus, we asked participants, “After the encounter with the other customer, how likely would you be to put the separator bar down behind the sweater?” Second, to examine the potential for retaliation, participants were asked, “As you leave the cash register, you notice the customer behind you has unknowingly dropped a $1 bill on the floor and it is hidden from their view. How likely would you be to tell them about the money?” We obtained responses to both questions using three five-point semantic differential items: unlikely/likely, improbable/probable, impossible/possible. To explore more complex responses to the other customer’s behavior, we asked two open-ended questions: “What do you think you might have said to the other customer in the scenario?” and “Why do you think the other customer touched the sweater?” To allow assessment of disgust as an alternative explanation, we asked, “Thinking about the sweater scenario you read, please indicate on the scale below how much you felt each of these emotional reactions” (Argo, Dahl, and Morales 2006). Nine positive and negative emotions were listed alphabetically, including three focal items (“disgusted,” “gross,” and “unclean”). Results and Discussion Results ANOVA results reveal a main effect of the other consumer’s ownership signal (touch with vs. without permission) on infringement perception (MSignal = 3.32 vs. MNoSignal = 2.34; F(1, 144) = 24.68, p < .001). However, this effect is qualified by a significant interaction (F(1, 144) = 6.77, p = .01). Consistent with our account, participants with high psychological ownership of the sweater reported greater infringement perception when the other customer signaled (vs. did not signal) psychological ownership (M = 3.64 vs. M = 3.00; F(1, 144) = 5.07, p = .03), while those with low psychological ownership did not (M = 2.14 vs. M = 2.53; F(1,144) = 2.02, p = .16; see figure 2). Regression results revealed that greater infringement perceptions are associated with greater intentions to place the separator bar behind the sweater (B = .42, t = 9.39, p < .001) and with lower intentions to tell the other consumer about the money they dropped (B = –.23, t = –4.10, p < .001). The conditional indirect effects of consumer’s psychological ownership on (a) putting down the separator bar and (b) telling about the money due to infringement perceptions were confirmed (PROCESS model 7; web appendix C). That is, the other consumer’s signal of psychological ownership (touching without vs. with permission) elicited anticipatory and reactionary defenses due to heightened perceptions of infringement, but only when the consumer’s own psychological ownership of the sweater was high (vs. low). We examined responses to the open-ended questions for themes using the same procedure as study 1. With the first question, “What do you think you might have said to the other customer in the scenario?” we observed five additional responses: (c) speak negatively to the other customer (e.g. “Please don’t touch my stuff!”), (d) display hostility to the other customer nonverbally (e.g., give them a “nasty” or “mean” look), (e) pick up or move the sweater, (f) tell the other customer the sweater was theirs or that they were purchasing it (mark their territory), or (g) engage the other customer with a question or dialog (e.g., “It’s a nice sweater, isn’t it?”). Each participant was coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement for the six measures was high: (c) 89%, (d) 97%, (e) 100%, (f) 91%, and (g) 89%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. We used binary logistic regressions to examine the effects of perceived infringement on the likelihood of the five responses (percent exhibiting: (c) 20.3%, (d) 4.7%, (e) 4.1%, (f) 8.8%, (g) 20.3%). Results revealed that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to (c) speak negatively to the other customer (odds ratio = 2.2, χ2(1) = 14.98, p < .001), (d) display nonverbal hostility to the other customer (odds ratio = 2.5, χ2(1) = 4.61, p = .03), (e) pick up or move the sweater (odds ratio = 4.2, χ2(1) = 5.50, p = .02), and (f) tell the other customer the sweater was theirs (odds ratio = 1.8, χ2(1) = 5.26, p = .02). They were also less likely to (g) engage the other customer in dialog (odds ratio = .49, χ2(1) = 14.24, p < .001). Bootstrap sampling (PROCESS model 7) confirmed that psychological ownership of the sweater impacted these territorial responses through infringement when the other consumer touched the sweater without asking permission, but not when permission was requested (web appendix C). For the question, “Why do you think the other customer touched the sweater?” four additional responses were observed: (h) the customer liked the sweater/thought they might want to buy it; (i) the customer wanted to feel how soft it is/feel the texture; (j) the other customer wanted a social interaction; and (k) the participant thought the other customer was “crazy,” lacked knowledge of “social norms for behavior,” lacked “manners,” or other similar comments attributing the behavior to a dispositional deficiency. Each participant was coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement for the four measures was high: (h) 76%, (i) 77%, (j) 99%, and (k) 97%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the effects of perceived infringement on the likelihood of the four responses (percent exhibiting: (h) 20.6%, (i) 48%, (j) 20.3%, (k) 10.8%). Results reveal that as infringement perceptions increased, participants were more likely to (h) assume the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater (odds ratio = 1.4, χ2(1) = 4.35, p = .04) and (k) perceive that the other customer was deficient in some way (odds ratio = 1.8, χ2(1) = 4.95, p = .02). Other effects of infringement perception were not significant (p > .35). As expected, conditional indirect effects of consumer’s psychological ownership on (h) perceptions that the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater, as well as (k) perceived deficiency in the other customer, through infringement perception, were significant (web appendix C). Lastly, we examined perceived contamination as a possible alternative explanation (Argo et al. 2006) by repeating the analyses with disgust instead of infringement perception as the mediator. Neither the interaction nor the main effects of the consumer’s psychological ownership and other’s psychological ownership signal on feelings of disgust were significant (p > .22). Additionally, conditional indirect effects through disgust were nonsignificant (p > .10). Discussion Using a different kind of infringer (another customer), a different marketing context (a retail store), and a different target of ownership (a sweater), study 3 demonstrates that relatively high levels of psychological ownership set the stage for territorial responses to infringements. However, study 3 also shows that such responses are muted when a potential infringer acknowledges ownership by asking permission to cross property lines. The territorial responses identified in this study included anticipatory defenses designed to protect the sweater from further infringement (Brown 2009), such as putting down the separator bar or picking up, holding, or moving the sweater, as well as reactionary defenses, such as retaliation against the infringer, negative or hostile verbal and nonverbal expressions, and telling the infringer the sweater was theirs (territorial marking). Infringed participants were also more likely to perceive that the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater. A number of participants derogated the infringer with comments such as “they are an insane person” and “they have impulse control issues.” We return to this finding in study 5 and in the general discussion. In this study, participants’ responses to the open-ended questions were once again consistent with the notion that punishment to restore social order and punishment to repel territorial infringement have different motivational bases. If punishment were serving the purpose of restoring a balance in social order, one would expect to see comments related to fairness or justice (Darley and Pittman 2003). Instead, participants’ responses were clearly meant to convey displeasure to the infringer. Indeed, many of the open-ended responses were vehement in their objections to the other customer, including the use of strong profanities (e.g., “F*** off!”) as well as language expressive of a physical violation of the self (e.g., “Excuse me? Go find the rack where there are plenty more of these to feel up!”). We note that in the contexts of studies 1–3, consumers can reasonably presume that their ownership is clearly communicated to others (e.g., restaurant patrons can presume servers know that table items are theirs). In such contexts, psychological ownership signals from others will be perceived as an infringement. However, there are contexts in which consumers are less certain that their psychologically owned territory is clearly marked. In such contexts, consumers may be more hesitant to respond territorially when individuals cross territorial boundaries. In addition, due to the close physical proximity of the ownership targets to participants in studies 1–3, it remains unclear whether territorial responses will be elicited when consumers are physically distant from their psychological possessions. Study 4 addresses these questions. STUDY 4: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES WHEN CONSUMERS HAVE NOT MARKED THEIR TERRITORY Anecdotal evidence and scholarly research suggest that individuals commonly develop psychological ownership for a chosen seat, such as in a classroom (Kaya and Burgess 2007) or coffee shop (Griffiths and Gilly 2012), and may mark their seats or tables with personal belongings in an effort to deter others from sitting there (Sommer and Becker 1969). Further, marketers whose service setting enables infringement between consumers may be held liable in the case of a perceived transgression. In such cases, a consumer may retaliate against both the infringer and the marketer. With this in mind, we chose a sidewalk café in which customers need to leave the seat to go to the bar to order as the context in which to examine the effect of consumers’ territorial marking on infringement perception and territorial responses. Method Participants and Design Study 4 used a one-way between-subjects design (psychological ownership: low unmarked/high unmarked/high marked) with 92 MTurk participants. Materials and Procedure Participants read a scenario describing a sidewalk café: “You are walking through a city one summer afternoon and see an open-air sidewalk café. The tables are attractively set with a small flower centerpiece, a napkin holder, and a small tent card with a table number on it. You walk into the café and are told by the greeter to choose any seat.” Psychological ownership and marking manipulations were then enacted as follows: “You walk over to a seat, but before you sit down, the server arrives to tell you that drinks are available at the bar over on the side of the café. You go to the bar” (low psychological ownership condition); “You choose a seat and relax for a moment, watching the passers-by. The server arrives to tell you that drinks are available at the bar over on the side of the café. You get up to go to the bar” (high psychological ownership condition). Additionally, participants in the high psychological ownership marked condition read: “Before you leave the table, you hang a shopping bag on the back of the chair to show that the seat is taken.” Results of a pretest with 90 MTurk participants confirmed that compared with people who simply walk toward their seat (MLow = 2.56), those who sit in a seat, whether marked (M = 3.78; F(1, 57) = 20.48; p < .001) or unmarked (M = 3.38; F(1, 58) = 6.94; p =.01), feel higher psychological ownership of the seat. Further, psychological ownership of the seat remains constant whether the seat is marked with a belonging or not (p = .17). All participants then read “Now, imagine that at the bar, you choose a cold bottle of water. You bring it back to the table to drink. When you return, you find that another customer is sitting in the seat you had selected.” Results of a pretest with 120 MTurk participants confirmed that an individual sitting in (vs. walking by) a seat is more likely to be seen as signaling psychological ownership of the seat (M = 3.61 vs. M = 2.88; F(1, 114) = 11.30; p = .001). Measures We measured infringement perceptions as in prior studies using a seven-point scale. Retaliation (not telling the other customer about a dropped dollar bill) was measured as in study 3, and temporary and permanent abandonment were measured with five-point scales as in prior studies. An open-ended question asked, “What would you do in this scenario?” Finally, the territorial marking manipulation check consisted of a five-point scale with two statements including, “I marked the seat as mine before going to the bar.” Results and Discussion Manipulation Checks Participants in the high ownership marked condition were more likely to report that their seat had been clearly marked when they had left their bag on it (F(2, 119) = 54.23; p < .001) than when they had not (M = 4.17 vs. M = 2.42; F(1, 80) = 65.47; p < .001) or when their psychological ownership of the seat was low and unmarked (M = 2.09; F(1, 79) = 111.51; p < .001). Territorial marking did not differ between the low and high psychological ownership unmarked conditions (p = .16), thus confirming the manipulation. Results Results of ANOVA with infringement perception as the dependent variable revealed an effect of psychological ownership marking (F(1, 119) = 20.87; p < .001; see figure 3). Post hoc comparisons further demonstrated that participants reported greater feelings of infringement when their seat was marked with their shopping bag (M = 5.33) than when they had not marked it (M = 3.63; F(1, 80) = 24.39; p < .001) or when their psychological ownership of the seat was low (M = 3.08; F(1, 79 = 36.37; p < .001). Infringement perception did not differ between the low psychological ownership and high psychological ownership unmarked conditions (p = .14). Linear regression analysis revealed that as infringement perception increased, participants were more likely to (a) retaliate by not telling the other customer about a dropped dollar (B = –.277, t = –4.49; p < .001), and (b) temporary (B = .174; t = 3.34; p = .001) and (c) permanent (B = .234; t = 5.27; p < .001) abandonment increased. FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide STUDY 4 RESULTS: INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND TERRITORIAL MARKING FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide STUDY 4 RESULTS: INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND TERRITORIAL MARKING Responses to the open-ended question were analyzed for themes by a researcher and an assistant blind to the experimental conditions. Participants exhibited four types of behavioral intentions: (d) explain that the seat is taken, (e) ask customer to move, (f) take another seat, and (g) ask café staff for assistance. Participants were coded as exhibiting (1) or not exhibiting (0) each behavioral intention. Initial coder agreement was high: (d) 85.2%, (e) 90.2%, (f) 90.2%, and (g) 99.2%, with discrepancies resolved by discussion. We examined the effect of perceived infringement on the coded responses (percent exhibiting: (d) 30.3%, (e) 18.9, (f) 65.6%, and (g) 8.2%) using binary logistic regressions. Results revealed that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to: (d) explain to the other customer that the seat is taken (odds ratio = 1.96, χ2(1) = 29.36, p < .001), (e) ask the customer to move (odds ratio = 1.61, χ2(1) = 12.34, p < .001), and (g) ask café staff for assistance (odds ratio = 1.74, χ2(1) = 7.73, p < .01), and less likely to (f) take another seat (odds ratio = .41, χ2(1) = 46.16, p < .001). Finally, bootstrapping analysis based on a multicategorical approach (Hayes and Preacher 2014) revealed significant relative indirect effects of territorial marking through infringement perception on the territorial responses in the high psychological ownership marked versus unmarked condition. The relative indirect effects in the high psychological ownership unmarked versus low ownership condition were not significant (web appendix C), with no significant direct effects of territorial marking on participants’ territorial responses (.07 < p < .89). Discussion Using a study context where psychological ownership may be ambiguous and the ownership target is physically distant from the consumer (a sidewalk café where consumers need to leave their seat), we show that feelings of infringement strengthen when consumers believe they have clearly marked their territory in advance. STUDY 5: HIGH NARCISSISTS PERCEIVE INFRINGEMENT WHEN LOW NARCISSISTS DO NOT Through studies 1–4, using different targets of ownership and both control and investment of self-oriented psychological ownership signals, we have demonstrated that consumers’ infringement perceptions and territorial responses hinge on whether they believe they have clearly communicated their ownership to others. An interesting implication of this finding is that consumers who overestimate how clearly they have communicated ownership to others will be more prone to territorial responses. A personality trait that affords a test of this idea is narcissism. We focus on the continuum of normal narcissism rather than narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissism is defined as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance” (Morf and Rhodewalt 2001, 177). Narcissists’ exaggerated self-perceptions are well documented (Paulhus 1998), and individuals who are high in narcissism view themselves as more intelligent, unique, attractive, and higher in status than others (Sedikides et al. 2018). Narcissists signal their perceived superiority through their possessions by purchasing and displaying products that are more unique and positively differentiate them (de Bellis et al. 2016; Lee et al. 2013). Thus, their inflated self-perception should extend to their possessions. For example, high narcissists are more likely than low narcissists to perceive that the products they already own are less frequently owned by others, even when they are not (Lee et al. 2013). Metaperception refers to people’s beliefs about how others perceive them (Wallace and Tice 2012). Narcissists not only overestimate their own positive characteristics, but they also overestimate their metaperceptions of these positive characteristics (Carlson, Vazire, and Oltmanns 2011). For example, narcissists are more likely to overestimate the degree to which others find them physically attractive, extroverted, and open (Carlson et al. 2011). Accordingly, given the importance of their possessions in maintaining their exaggerated view of their unique and positive self-concept (Lee et al. 2013), they likely also overestimate others’ assessment of their psychological ownership of an attractive target. In other words, they believe they have communicated their ownership—their territory—even when others could not be aware of it. These exaggerated metaperceptions of territorial marking should therefore lead high (but not low) narcissists to perceive infringement even in the absence of clearly marked territory. Method Participants and Design Study 5 employed a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (psychological ownership signal of other: no/yes) between-subjects design, with narcissism measured as an additional moderating factor with 122 MTurk participants. Materials and Procedure Participants were told to imagine they were visiting a town about an hour away from where they live. We manipulated psychological ownership of a pizza by asking participants to imagine encountering the pizza by accident (low psychological ownership) or intending to find it (high psychological ownership; Lembregts, Pandelaere, and Paolacci 2014). They were told either: “You spent a lot of time planning for this trip because you intended to visit an interesting museum. As you are walking toward the museum, you come across a street fair with a pizza stand. You examine their featured pizza carefully. It looks delicious. You have discovered this pizza totally by accident” (low psychological ownership), or “You spent a lot of time planning for this trip because you intended to get a certain type of pizza that is served at this street fair. You pictured this pizza in your mind and imagined what it would taste like. You attend the street fair and search for the pizza stand. Upon finding the pizza stand you examine their featured pizza carefully. It looks delicious. This pizza is exactly what you intended to find” (high psychological ownership). After reading the scenario, participants completed a measure of psychological ownership of the pizza as a manipulation check. Next, we manipulated the stranger’s psychological ownership signaling by varying their intimate knowledge of the pizza. All participants were told, “Now, imagine that a stranger approaches you.” In the no ownership signal condition, the stranger said, “I am not familiar with the pizza,” while in the signal condition, the stranger said, “I know this pizza well. I call this pizza Antonio.” Anthropomorphizing an inanimate object positions it as a social entity (Beggan 1992; Fridlund 1991), thereby conveying an intimate relationship, which in turn should communicate the stranger’s claim of psychological ownership. Results of a pretest with 81 MTurk participants confirmed that a stranger’s conveying (vs. lack of conveying) such intimate knowledge of a pizza is more likely to be perceived as signaling psychological ownership of the pizza (M = 3.57 vs. M = 1.54; F(1, 77) = 74.79; p < .001). Measures Psychological ownership, infringement perception, and temporary and permanent abandonment were measured on five-point Likert-type scales (see prior studies). Narcissism was measured by the NPI-16 (Ames, Rose, and Anderson 2006) narcissism personality inventory, consisting of 16 forced-choice counterbalanced pairs of statements such as “I think I am a special person” (high narcissism) versus “I am no better nor worse than most people” (low narcissism). Two open-ended questions captured defensive behavioral responses (“What do you imagine you might say to the stranger?”) and attitudes toward infringing others (“Thinking back to the stranger’s comment, what do you think about the stranger?”). Results Manipulation Checks Participants reported significantly higher psychological ownership of the pizza when they intended to find it than when they discovered it accidentally (M = 3.64 vs. 2.32; F(1, 120) = 50.00, p < .001). We performed a confound check to ensure the psychological ownership manipulation did not elicit psychological ownership of the pizza differently in high (vs. low) narcissists. Psychological ownership of the pizza was regressed on the ownership manipulation, narcissism, and their interaction. Coefficients for both the interaction and for narcissism were nonsignificant (p = .98 and .11, respectively), suggesting no confounding. Results Replicating studies 2 and 3, results of two-way ANOVA, with the consumer’s psychological ownership of the pizza and the stranger’s psychological ownership signaling as independent variables and infringement perception as the dependent variable, revealed a main effect of other’s signaling (F(1, 118) = 5.89, p = .02) along with the predicted interaction (F(1, 118) = 5.48, p = .02). Infringement perception was greater when the stranger signaled psychological ownership of the pizza by naming it (thus indicating high intimate knowledge), but only when the consumer’s own psychological ownership was high (M = 2.32 vs. M = 1.49; F(1, 118) = 11.26, p < .001) and not low (M = 1.82 vs. M = 1.80; F(1, 118) = .004, p = .95). Narcissism statement pairs were coded 0 (low) or 1 (high narcissism), resulting in a theoretical range of 0–16 (observed M = 3.57). Results of bootstrap analysis (PROCESS model 3) with psychological ownership of the pizza, the stranger’s ownership signal, and narcissism as independent variables, revealed a main effect of narcissism on infringement (B = .35, t = 3.71; p < .001), qualified by an interaction with psychological ownership (B = –.17; t = –2.80; p = .006). Consistent with our predictions, the analysis revealed a significant three-way interaction on infringement perception (t = 3.71; p < .001). Floodlight analysis using the Johnson-Neyman technique (Spiller et al. 2013) revealed that the two-way interaction between psychological ownership and other’s ownership signaling was significant at the 95% level for participants with narcissism values of 3.15 or higher (67.2% of the sample) but not lower. To probe the interactions further, we examined the high and low psychological ownership conditions separately. Results of bootstrap analyses (PROCESS model 1) revealed that when participants’ psychological ownership was high (but not low), other’s psychological ownership signaling significantly affected participants with a narcissism value of 1.96 or greater (65% of the sample; figure 4). No other main effects or interactions were significant (p > .07). Linear regression analysis further revealed that infringement perception positively predicted (a) temporary (B = .25, t = 2.31, p = .02) but not (b) permanent abandonment (p > .43). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide STUDY 5 RESULTS: THE EFFECT OF OTHER’S OWNERSHIP SIGNAL ON INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF NARCISSISM Note.—Shows region of significance of the simple effect of other’s ownership signal at different levels of narcissism (MNarcissism = 3.57; SD = 3.52). Vertical line represents point of significance. FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide STUDY 5 RESULTS: THE EFFECT OF OTHER’S OWNERSHIP SIGNAL ON INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF NARCISSISM Note.—Shows region of significance of the simple effect of other’s ownership signal at different levels of narcissism (MNarcissism = 3.57; SD = 3.52). Vertical line represents point of significance. Responses to the two open-ended questions were coded for valence by a researcher and an assistant blind to the experimental conditions. Responses to (c) “What would you say to the stranger?” were coded 0 if they were positive or neutral (e.g., “I might ask why they chose that particular name for the pizza”) and 1 if they were negative or hostile (e.g., “Please can you mind your own business”). For the question (d) “What did you think of the stranger?” a recurring theme was that the stranger was perceived to be “weird,” “mentally ill,” “odd,” “strange,” or “creepy.” Responses were coded accordingly (perceived weirdness: 0 = no; 1 = yes). Initial coder agreement for the two measures was 90.3% and 92.6%, respectively, and discrepancies were resolved by discussion. We examined the effect of infringement perception on the responses (hostile response “yes” = 37.2 % and perceived weirdness “yes” = 21.3%) using binary logistic regressions. Results reveal that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to (c) respond negatively to the stranger (odds ratio = 1.70, χ2(1) = 5.40, p = .02) and (d) classify the stranger as “weird” (odds ratio = 1.53, χ2(1) = 4.07, p = .04). A moderated mediation analysis in which the conditional process was itself moderated (PROCESS model 11) revealed that the conditional indirect effects of psychological ownership on (a) temporary abandonment, (c) negative response, and (d) perceived weirdness through infringement perception were significant at one SD above, but not one SD below, the mean of narcissism (web appendix C). Study 5 Post-Test We have contended that high narcissists feel more infringement than low narcissists, not because they feel psychological ownership more strongly than low narcissists, but rather because they are more likely than low narcissists to perceive that they have clearly signaled their psychological ownership to others. To examine this contention further, we conducted a post-test with 70 MTurk participants. Participants read the pizza psychological ownership manipulation used in the main study and were told, “Now, imagine that a stranger approaches you” (with no ownership signaling information). Participants’ psychological ownership metaperception was assessed with five five-point Likert-type scale items created for this post-test (web appendix B). This measure included such statements as “Although I do not legally own this pizza, the stranger clearly believes the pizza belongs to me.” Finally, narcissism was measured as in the main study. Post-Test Results Results of linear regression analysis with consumer’s psychological ownership metaperception (M = 2.94) as the dependent variable, and narcissism (M = 4.26, range = 0–14), the psychological ownership manipulation, and their interaction as independent variables, revealed a significant positive effect of narcissism on metaperception (B = .17, t(66) = 3.00, p < .01), with no other significant effects (p = .12). These results provide further evidence of a metaperception bias where high narcissists are more likely than low narcissists to believe they have clearly communicated their psychological ownership to others. Discussion Study 5 adds support to the proposition that consumers with higher levels of psychological ownership are more likely to perceive infringement and react territorially based on others’ ownership signals, and that these signals come in the form of theorized antecedents of psychological ownership: control (studies 1, 3, and 4), investment of self (study 2), and intimate knowledge (study 5). Further, study 5 confirms the novel prediction that high (vs. low) narcissists are more likely to believe that their ownership has been clearly communicated in any given situation, thus making them more likely to perceive infringement and respond territorially when others signal ownership. Examples of narcissists’ exaggerated psychological ownership metaperception were evident in the open-ended responses in the main study. For example, in response to “What did you think of the stranger?” a low-narcissism participant in the high ownership/signaling conditions stated, “I think he was just expressing how much he enjoyed the pizza.” In contrast, a high narcissism participant in the same conditions wrote: “I’m sure he’s a perfectly good person, but he annoyed me because I felt so close to this pizza. It was very special to me, and to find out it was special to someone else made me feel protective over it. I wonder if he said that because he could sense how much I liked it, and wanted to point out that he was closer than I was to it, like he was being superior and trying to be better than me.” High narcissists were also more likely than low narcissists to derogate an infringing other by classifying them as “weird” or “mentally ill,” or even “hallucinating.” Narcissists are subject to an others exist for me illusion (Sedikides et al. 2002) in which they attempt to retain positive self-evaluations by derogating others when outperformed on an ego-relevant task (Morf and Rhodewalt 1993). Therefore, diminishment of infringers may be viewed as an anticipatory defense designed to protect narcissists’ inflated sense of self. If the other customer is “weird,” then anything they might say about the narcissist’s psychologically owned territory can be discounted. At the same time, as noted previously, at high (but not low) levels of narcissism, the effect of the consumer’s psychological ownership on the derogation of the infringer as weird and on leaving the pizza stand reverses (becomes negative) when the stranger openly professes no knowledge of the pizza. In other words, when consumers’ psychological ownership of the pizza was high and the stranger makes it clear that they knew nothing about the pizza, high narcissists were less likely than low narcissists to consider the stranger weird or to respond negatively to them, and more likely to hang around the pizza stand. We did not hypothesize this interesting reversal; however, it is consistent with the others exist for me illusion (Sedikides et al. 2002). We speculate that the fact that the stranger knew nothing of the narcissistic consumers’ psychologically owned pizza reaffirmed their view of themselves as unique, special, and superior, making high narcissists (but not low narcissists) less likely to perceive the stranger as weird and more likely to be interested in speaking with them. GENERAL DISCUSSION Across five studies, we show that an infringement resulting in territorial behaviors may be perceived when a consumer who feels high psychological ownership of a target receives signals that another individual also feels high psychological ownership of the same target. This effect is attenuated when the other person asks permission, thus deactivating the signal (study 3), or the consumer fails to mark their psychologically owned territory in advance (study 4). The effect is also demonstrated for both tangible and intangible targets of ownership (study 2), and is intensified when the consumer is high in narcissism (study 5). Theoretically, we contribute to the research on both territoriality and the antecedents of psychological ownership by showing that these same antecedents can signal psychological ownership to others. Other’s psychological ownership was signaled by control when the server moved the diner’s cup (study 1) and when another customer touched the shopper’s sweater (study 3) or sat in the patron’s seat (study 4). The nonprofit assistant signaled psychological ownership of the volunteer’s folder design by claiming investment of self, a second antecedent of psychological ownership (study 2). Finally, psychological ownership was signaled when the stranger anthropomorphized the pizza, implying intimate knowledge (study 5). In each case, these antecedents signaled the other’s psychological ownership, resulting in infringement perceptions if the customer felt psychological ownership of the same target. Also notable is the exploration of infringement and a rich array of resulting territorial behaviors exhibited by consumers (see table 1), which has been sparse in the literature (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012). When infringed upon, consumers may demonstrate reactionary defenses that are intended to express negative feelings toward the infringer or to attempt to restore a claim of ownership (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005). Reactionary defenses uncovered in this research include retaliatory behaviors toward the infringer, such as leaving less of a tip (study 1), not picking up a dropped pen (study 2), not telling the infringer about dropped money (studies 3 and 4), and donating less and reducing positive word of mouth (study 2). Other reactionary defenses include negative or hostile verbal or nonverbal expressions or fewer positive expressions toward the infringer (studies 1, 3, and 5), attempting to reclaim the territory by communicating that the ownership target is already owned by the consumer (studies 3 and 4), and asking the infringer to move or not moving to a new seat (study 4). Anticipatory defenses, intended to protect the consumer from further infringement (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005), were also observed. Infringed consumers were more likely to move their coffee cup closer to themselves (study 1); to put down a separator bar when checking out, or to pick up and hold or move a sweater (study 3); to post a selfie with the folder design on social media (mark their territory; study 2); and to enlist café staff in defending their seat (study 4). Additionally, not engaging with (study 3) or leaving the infringer (temporarily abandoning the area) can also serve as ways of protecting our psychological possessions from the possibility of future infringement. Temporary abandonment was observed as infringed consumers were more likely to leave the restaurant (study 1), the nonprofit (study 2), the sidewalk café (study 4), and the pizza stand (study 5). In situations where the infringer was an employee (studies 1 and 2) or the service setting was conducive to infringement (study 4), consumers were also less likely to return to the establishment (permanent abandonment). Further, consumers were more likely to label the infringing other as “weird,” “mentally ill,” or otherwise deficient (study 3), especially if they were high in narcissism (study 5); to assess the infringer negatively (study 2); and to assume the infringer coveted the product (study 3). While other territorial reactions are possible, we have begun to document that there are real costs to marketers when their consumers feel infringed. Our findings concerning temporary abandonment are consistent with prior research in which infringed people depart an area, such as a retail store (Ashley and Noble 2014) or public park (Felipe and Sommer 1966), more quickly. However, in contrast, other researchers have found that people using a phone booth (Ruback et al. 1989) or parking space (Ruback and Juieng 1997) actually hold their ground longer when feeling pressured by a potential infringer. It is possible that this discrepancy can be explained by the notion of resident advantage (Brown and Baer 2011; Edney 1975). A resident of a territory refers to the person who is seen as the occupant, such as the home team in a football stadium, and typically operates from a position of confidence and strength (Brown and Baer 2011). From this point of view, a consumer in a phone booth or a parking lot is clearly the resident of the space, giving them strength to resist pressure and even retaliate by staying longer (a reactionary defense). However, resisting such pressure requires costly resources, especially when the property lines in question are more amorphous than they would be in a car or phone booth. Indeed, the expression “stand your ground” is a metaphor that implicitly compares defending a psychologically owned idea (Brown and Baer 2015) or argument with defending a physical position. In the case of a psychologically owned target, it may be less costly simply to leave in order to avoid future infringement (an anticipatory defense) than to stay and have to defend against a threat. It is clear from the wide variety of territorial responses documented in this research that a deeper understanding of when and why consumers might choose various responses is warranted. We also contribute to the understanding of a key individual difference in the response to signaling of psychological ownership. As a result of narcissists’ psychological ownership metaperception bias, in which they believe their ownership of an attractive target is clear to others, narcissists are more likely to feel infringed and respond territorially when others signal ownership of their psychological territory. The negative responses documented in study 5 are consistent with findings that narcissists are less forgiving of others (Exline et al. 2004) and more likely to derogate and respond aggressively toward others when their performance is challenged (Sedikides et al. 2002), especially when their self-concept is threatened (Bushman and Baumeister 1998). For example, high narcissists in study 5 were more likely than low narcissists to derogate the infringer by labeling them “weird” or “creepy.” We also note that although narcissism is usually negatively associated with empathy, this association is attenuated when individuals take another person’s perspective (Hepper, Hart, and Sedikides 2014). The context of study 4, a busy sidewalk café in which others are visibly seeking a seat, may have facilitated participants’ perspective taking, making it easier for narcissists to justify infringers’ behaviors. In study 5, there was no readily accessible justification for an incursion, and thus taking the unknowing infringer’s perspective might have been more challenging for narcissists. Given differences in territoriality that have been found between individually versus group-oriented individuals (Brown and Baer 2015; Knight and Baer 2014), agentic and communal narcissists (Gebauer et al. 2012) may also respond differently to psychological ownership signals, or even the ownership targets they choose. Further, narcissism is a multifaceted personality trait with both adaptive and maladaptive components (Wetzel and Robins 2016) that might impact narcissists’ ownership metaperceptions (Carlson et al. 2011). More work on this interesting group of consumers needs to be explored. In this research, we also introduce a novel mechanism for increasing consumers’ psychological ownership by manipulating investment of the self. We do this by using either intentional discovery, where effort from the consumer is required (an investment of self), or serendipity, where it is not. We also contribute to the anthropomorphism literature (Aggarwal and McGill 2007) by showing that merely naming an object impacts not only the emergence, but also the expression and signaling, of psychological ownership. This makes sense theoretically, as humanizing an inanimate object by giving it a name is a way of controlling it (Epley et al. 2008) and not only requires an investment of the self but also implies intimate knowledge. However, whereas anthropomorphism may result in or reflect a greater feeling of ownership of the anthropomorphized target, our findings suggest it may also elicit territorial reactions from other consumers, especially if they perceive it as a signal of ownership of their same owned target. We have focused in this work on tangible as well as intangible targets of ownership. Further, we contribute to the literature on consumers’ personal space (Xu et al. 2012) by examining their responses to a personal space invasion through the lens of territoriality (see web appendix D). The expression “I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” which implies overstepping one’s psychological boundaries, literally indicates an invasion of personal and body space. Other, nonverbal responses, such as posture and stance, may be employed as territorial markers, especially if a person is uncomfortable with nonverbals such as interpersonal touch (Webb and Peck 2015). The study of proxemics (Hall 1968) would be illuminating in this context and, similar to narcissists, individuals requiring more space than others may perceive infringement more easily. In fact, differences in responses to a crowded store (Hui and Bateson 1991) may be partially explained by differences in infringement perceptions and territorial responses. Another common, intangible target of ownership is ideas (Baer and Brown 2012; Brown and Baer 2015). In the domain of ideas, an individual, especially a narcissist, may feel that their territory is clearly communicated to others even when it is not. Resulting behaviors may include abandonment, such as never working with the same person again, or retaliation, where a person claims some of the other’s work as their own, with significant intellectual property implications. Other intangibles that consumers may psychologically own and are thus subject to territorial behaviors include brands, consumption and service experiences, and digital content or products (Kirk and Swain forthcoming), providing rich fodder for future exploration. Consumer territorial behaviors such as retaliation and temporary or permanent abandonment have real implications for marketers. Results of this research highlight the importance of understanding how psychological ownership may be signaled, even inadvertently, by marketers and the negative consequences that may result, potentially permitting marketers to optimize training programs, service settings, and communications accordingly. Servers in fine restaurants are trained to wait until the entire table has completed their dinner before removing dishes, and not doing so may elicit territorial responses from diners. Even nuanced interactions may unintentionally trigger infringement. For example, a consumer may suggest they discovered a brand first, implying intimate knowledge and greater psychological ownership. Front-line service personnel may risk generating unintentional negative feelings of infringement and even territorial behaviors by displaying too much intimate knowledge of a brand or idea with consumers whose psychological ownership is already high. On the other hand, service personnel may be able to dampen their ownership signal by complimenting a consumer’s psychological possession (e.g., “That’s a great choice”) before signaling ownership, thereby bolstering the consumer’s self and acknowledging rather than threatening the consumer’s ownership of the product. Even a subtle cue such as the use of the pronoun you or I (Pennebaker, Mehl, and Niederhoffer 2003) may have significant consequences related to interpretations of ownership. Besides territorial behavioral responses, there are likely affective responses for the consumer. Perceptions of an infringement are likely to trigger negative affective responses, which may occur prior, during, and after any territorial responses and could impact subsequent decision making (Herr et al. 2012). Fear (Coleman et al. 2017) could lead to abandonment of the territory (Brown et al. 2005), with resignation or sadness a result, whereas anger could predict retaliatory actions against the infringer (Brown and Robinson 2011). Given the intensely social nature of an infringement interaction, self-conscious emotions (Tracy, Robins, and Tangney 2007) such as shame, embarrassment, and pride may play a role. For example, in study 1, the awkwardness observed in the coffee drinkers’ responses to the server’s infringement suggests they might have felt embarrassment (Dahl, Manchanda, and Argo 2001). In study 3, consumers indicated pride in their sweater, and the high-ownership volunteers in study 2 may have felt pride in their folder design (Kirk, Swain, and Gaskin 2015). That the assistant did not acknowledge study 2 participants’ pride in their self-created designs with positive feedback—an essential part of the study design—may have dampened participants’ enthusiasm for designing a second folder, irrespective of their feelings of infringement. A feeling of creepiness is also an affective response, emerging in the midst of ambiguity as to the presence of a threat (McAndrew and Koehnke 2016). Theoretically, this is also in line with our findings, as the creepiness of the stranger in study 5 emerges only when the consumer has high psychological ownership and there may be an infringement threat. In the present research, we have studied consumers’ individual psychological ownership of targets and their own feelings of infringement. It would be very interesting to examine whether consumers can also feel infringed when others signal ownership for a collectively owned target (Pierce and Jussila 2010), and who the infringing others might be. An example of a collectively owned target might be a crowdsourced brand name or crowdfunded start-up company. It is possible that when ownership is elicited jointly, other co-owners signaling ownership would not be viewed as infringers, but individuals who did not participate initially might be. In many service settings, such as a restaurant in which the customer self-designs their meal, the product is coproduced between customer and service provider, leading to the potential for collective psychological ownership. Once the meal is served, however, possession is transferred to the customer, and the potential for infringement ensues. Finally, as with physical territories (Altman 1975), psychological territories can change depending on a variety of factors, including consumers’ individual motives, features of the target of ownership, the social units involved (such as individuals, groups, or larger social systems), duration of time (whether expectations of ownership are temporary, as with a coffee cup in a restaurant or more permanent, as with a well-worn brand), and consumers’ diverse defensive responses. In an effort to capture some of these varied parameters, researchers have classified territories into primary, secondary, and public (Altman 1975). While this classification was initially developed for physical territories, it may prove useful in responding to some of the many unanswered questions about consumers’ psychological possessions. For example, primary territories are those that are relatively permanent and central to individuals’ lives, such as a special table reserved on an ongoing basis in a frequented restaurant, a custom-designed avatar in a video game, or a consumer’s social media page. On the other hand, secondary territories are less central and often shared among members of a secondary social group, and might include, for example, a favorite local coffee shop or video gamers’ shared environment. Finally, public territories are generally temporary and freely shared and might include a public park or even a website. Territoriality has a rich history in social science research relevant to marketing (Kirk 2018), and researchers are encouraged to mine territoriality theory to gain a deeper understanding of today’s consumers and their more varied and fluid (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2017) modes of consumption. Much more work is needed to more completely understand consumers’ property lines in the mind and their responses resulting from infringement perceptions. While there is more to be done, this research is a necessary first step in using psychological ownership to explore infringement perceptions and territorial reactions in the consumer literature. DATA COLLECTION INFORMATION Study 1 data were collected by the first author and a research assistant in the Mount Saint Mary College psychology lab (Newburgh, NY, March 2016), with the second author as confidante. Study 2 data were collected by a research assistant under the supervision of the second author at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (April 2017), with the first author as confidante. Data for studies 3–5 were collected by the first author from MTurk (study 3: September 2015; study 4: June 2017; study 5: July 2015), with the second and third authors as confidantes. Open-ended responses were coded by the first author and a research assistant at Mount Saint Mary College (studies 1, 3, and 5) and New York Institute of Technology (studies 2 and 4). Data for web appendix D (personal space study) were collected by the first author and three research assistants in the New York Institute of Technology campus store (1855 Broadway, New York City, June 2017) with the second and third authors as confidantes. Data for all studies were analyzed by the first and third authors jointly. The authors are grateful to the editor, Darren Dahl; associate editor, Jennifer Argo; and three anonymous reviewers, whose investment of self during the review process significantly enhanced the article. In addition, the authors thank participants at the 2017 Vienna University Workshop on the Future of Ownership Research, as well as those at the 2017 Society for Consumer Psychology annual conference and boutique conferences in Tokyo and New York City for their valuable input. The authors are grateful to our dedicated research assistants at the University of Wisconsin, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), and Mount Saint Mary College (New York) for their help. Lastly, financial support from the NYIT School of Management, an NYIT Institutional Support of Research and Creativity (ISRC) grant, and the University of Wisconsin School of Business is gratefully acknowledged. Supplementary materials (appendixes A–D) are included as an attachment in the online-only version of this article. REFERENCES Aggarwal Pankaj , McGill Ann L. ( 2007 ), “Is That Car Smiling at Me? Schema Congruity as a Basis for Evaluating Anthropomorphized Products,” Journal of Consumer Research , 34 4 , 468 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Alexandrov Aliosha , Lilly Bryan , Babakus Emin ( 2013 ), “The Effects of Social- and Self-Motives on the Intentions to Share Positive and Negative Word of Mouth,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science , 41 5 , 531 – 46 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Altman Irwin ( 1975 ), The Environment and Social Behavior: Privacy, Personal Space, Territory, and Crowding , Monterey, CA : Brooks/Cole . Ames Daniel R. , Rose Paul , Anderson Cameron P. ( 2006 ), “The NPI-16 as a Short Measure of Narcissism,” Journal of Research in Personality , 40 4 , 440 – 50 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Argo Jennifer J. , Dahl Darren W. , Morales Andrea C. ( 2006 ), “Consumer Contamination: How Consumers React to Products Touched by Others,” Journal of Marketing , 70 2 , 81 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ashley Christy , Noble Stephanie M. ( 2014 ), “It’s Closing Time: Territorial Behaviors from Customers in Response to Front Line Employees,” Journal of Retailing , 90 1 , 74 – 92 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Baer Markus , Brown Graham ( 2012 ), “Blind in One Eye: How Psychological Ownership of Ideas Affects the Types of Suggestions People Adopt,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes , 118 1 , 60 – 71 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Bardhi Fleura , Eckhardt Giana M ( 2017 ), “Liquid Consumption,” Journal of Consumer Research , 44 3 , 582 – 97 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Beggan James K. ( 1992 ), “On the Social Nature of Nonsocial Perception: The Mere Ownership Effect,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 62 2 , 229 – 37 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Beggan James K. , Brown Ellen M. ( 1994 ), “Association as a Psychological Justification for Ownership,” Journal of Psychology , 128 4 , 365 – 80 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Belk Russell W. ( 1988 ), “Possessions and the Extended Self,” Journal of Consumer Research , 15 2 , 139 – 68 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Braun Virginia , Clarke Victoria ( 2006 ), “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology,” Qualitative Research in Psychology , 3 2 , 77 – 101 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham ( 2009 ), “Claiming a Corner at Work: Measuring Employee Territoriality in Their Workspaces,” Journal of Environmental Psychology , 29 1 , 44 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Baer Markus ( 2011 ), “Location in Negotiation: Is There a Home Field Advantage?” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes , 114 2 , 190 – 200 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Baer Markus ( 2015 ), “ Protecting the Turf: The Effect of Territorial Marking on Others’ Creativity ,” Journal of Applied Psychology , 100 6 , 1785 – 97 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Lawrence Thomas B. , Robinson Sandra L. ( 2005 ), “ Territoriality in Organizations ,” Academy of Management Review , 30 3 , 577 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Pierce Jon L. , Crossley Craig ( 2014 ), “Toward an Understanding of the Development of Ownership Feelings,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 35 3 , 318 – 38 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Robinson Sandra L. ( 2011 ), “Reactions to Territorial Infringement,” Organization Science , 22 1 , 210 – 24 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Bushman Brad J. , Baumeister Roy F. ( 1998 ), “Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 75 1 , 219 – 29 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Carlson Erika N. , Vazire Simine , Oltmanns Thomas F. ( 2011 ), “You Probably Think This Paper’s About You: Narcissists’ Perceptions of Their Personality and Reputation,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 101 1 , 185 – 201 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Coleman Nicole Verrochi , Williams Patti , Morales Andrea C. , and Andrew Edward White ( 2017 ), “ Attention, Attitudes, and Action: When and Why Incidental Fear Increases Consumer Choice ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 44 2 , 283 – 312 . Dahl Darren W. , Manchanda Rajesh V. , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2001 ), “Embarrassment in Consumer Purchase: The Roles of Social Presence and Purchase Familiarity,” Journal of Consumer Research , 28 3 , 473 – 81 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Dahl Darren W. , Moreau C. Page ( 2007 ), “Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences,” Journal of Marketing Research , 44 3 , 357 – 69 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Darley John M. , Pittman Thane S. ( 2003 ), “The Psychology of Compensatory and Retributive Justice,” Personality & Social Psychology Review , 7 4 , 324 – 36 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS de Bellis Emanuel , Sprott David E. , Herrmann Andreas , Bierhoff Hans-Werner , Rohmann Elke ( 2016 ), “The Influence of Trait and State Narcissism on the Uniqueness of Mass-Customized Products,” Journal of Retailing , 92 2 , 162 – 72 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Edney Julian J. ( 1974 ), “Human Territoriality,” Psychological Bulletin , 81 12 , 959 – 75 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Edney Julian J. ( 1975 ),“ Territoriality and Control: A Field Experiment ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31 6 , 1108 – 15 . Epley Nicholas , Waytz Adam , Akalis Scott , Cacioppo John T. ( 2008 ), “When We Need a Human: Motivational Determinants of Anthropomorphism,” Social Cognition , 26 2 , 143 – 55 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Exline Julie Juola , Baumeister Roy F. , Bushman Brad J. , Keith Campbell W. , Finkel Eli J. ( 2004 ), “Too Proud to Let Go: Narcissistic Entitlement as a Barrier to Forgiveness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 87 6 , 894 – 912 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fehr Ernst , Gachter Simon ( 2002 ), “Altruistic Punishment in Humans,” Nature 6868 , 137 . Felipe Nancy Jo , Sommer Robert ( 1966 ), “Invasions of Personal Space,” Social Problems , 14 2 , 206 – 14 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fraine Graham , Smith Sandy G. , Zinkiewicz Lucy , Chapman Rebekah , Sheehan Mary ( 2007 ), “At Home on the Road? Can Drivers’ Relationships with Their Cars Be Associated with Territoriality?” Journal of Environmental Psychology , 27 3 , 204 – 14 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Franke Nikolaus , Schreier Martin , Kaiser Ulrike ( 2010 ), “The ‘I Designed It Myself’ Effect in Mass Customization,” Management Science , 56 1 , 125 – 40 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fridlund Alan J. ( 1991 ), “Evolution and Facial Action in Reflex, Social Motive, and Paralanguage,” Biological Psychology , 32 1 , 3 – 100 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Friedman Ori ( 2010 ), “Necessary for Possession: How People Reason About the Acquisition of Ownership,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 36 9 , 1161 – 69 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Friedman Ori , Neary Karen R. ( 2008 ), “Determining Who Owns What: Do Children Infer Ownership from First Possession?” Cognition , 107 3 , 829 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fuchs Christoph , Prandelli Emanuela , Schreier Martin ( 2010 ), “The Psychological Effects of Empowerment Strategies on Consumers’ Product Demand,” Journal of Marketing , 74 1 , 65 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Furby Lita ( 1978 ), “Possession in Humans: An Exploratory Study of Its Meaning and Motivation,” Social Behavior and Personality , 6 1 , 49 – 65 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Gebauer Jochen E. , Sedikides Constantine , Verplanken Bas , Maio Gregory R. ( 2012 ), “Communal Narcissism,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 103 5 , 854 – 78 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Griffiths Merlyn A. , Gilly Mary C. ( 2012 ), “Dibs! Customer Territorial Behaviors,” Journal of Service Research , 15 2 , 131 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hall Edward T. ( 1968 ), “ Proxemics ,” Current Anthropology , 9 ( 2/3 ), 83 – 108 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hayes Andrew F. ( 2013 ), Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-based Approach , New York : Guilford . Hayes Andrew F. , Preacher Kristopher J. ( 2014 ), “Statistical Mediation Analysis with a Multicategorical Independent Variable,” British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology , 67 3 , 451 – 70 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hepper Erica G. , Hart Claire M. , Sedikides Constantine ( 2014 ), “Moving Narcissus: Can Narcissists Be Empathic?” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 40 , 1079 – 91 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Herr Paul M. , Page Christine M. , Pfeiffer Bruce E. , Davis Derick F. ( 2012 ), “Affective Influences on Evaluative Processing,” Journal of Consumer Research , 38 5 , 833 – 45 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hui Michael K. , Bateson John E. G. ( 1991 ), “Perceived Control and the Effects of Crowding and Consumer Choice on the Service Experience,” Journal of Consumer Research , 18 2 , 174 – 84 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Jess (@clownbabyyy) , ( 2017 ), “I’m so territorial over my shopping cart…,” Twitter, April 17, https://twitter.com/clownbabyyy/status/851873828506554368. Kaya Naz , Burgess Brigitte ( 2007 ), “Territoriality: Seat Preferences in Different Types of Classroom Arrangements,” Environment and Behavior , 39 6 , 859 – 76 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kirk Colleen P. ( 2018 ), “When Good Fences Make Good Customers: Exploring Psychological Ownership and Territoriality in Marketing,” in Theoretical Orientations and Practical Applications of Psychological Ownership , ed. Olckers Chantal , Van Zyl Llewellyn , Van Der Vaart Leoni , New York : Springer , forthcoming. Kirk Colleen P. , McSherry Bernard , Swain Scott D. ( 2015 ), “ Investing the Self: The Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Investor Psychological Ownership and Word-of-Mouth Intentions ,” Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics , 58 (October), 186 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kirk Colleen P. , Swain Scott D. (forthcoming), “The Psychological Ownership of Digital Technology,” in Psychological Ownership and Consumer Behavior , ed. Peck Joann , Shu Suzanne , New York : Springer . Kirk Colleen P. , Swain Scott D. , Gaskin James E. ( 2015 ), “ I’m Proud of It: Consumer Technology Appropriation and Psychological Ownership ,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice , 23 2 , 166 – 84 . Knight Andrew P. , Baer Markus ( 2014 ), “Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance ,” Social Psychological and Personality Science , 5 8 , 910 – 7 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lee Seung Yun , Gregg Aiden P. , Park Seong Hoon ( 2013 ), “ The Person in the Purchase: Narcissistic Consumers Prefer Products That Positively Distinguish Them,” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology , 105 2 , 335 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lembregts Christophe , Mario Pandelaere , Gabriele Paolacci ( 2014 ), “‘ Get Lucky, Get Punished’: The Effect of Serendipity on the Perception of Innovations ,” Advances in Consumer Research , 42 , 574 . Lin Lily , Dahl Darren W. , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2013 ), “Do the Crime, Always Do the Time? Insights into Consumer-to-Consumer Punishment Decisions,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 1 , 64 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lyman Stanford M. , Scott Marvin B. ( 1967 ), “Territoriality: A Neglected Sociological Dimension,” Social Problems , 15 2 , 236 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS McAndrew Francis T. , Koehnke Sara S. ( 2016 ), “On the Nature of Creepiness,” New Ideas in Psychology , 43 , 10 – 15 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morales Andrea C. , Fitzsimons Gavan J. ( 2007 ), “Product Contagion: Changing Consumer Evaluations through Physical Contact with ‘Disgusting’ Products,” Journal of Marketing Research , 44 2 , 272 – 83 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Moreau C. Page , Bonney Leff , Herd Kelly B. ( 2011 ), “It’s the Thought (and the Effort) That Counts: How Customizing for Others Differs from Customizing for Oneself,” Journal of Marketing , 75 5 , 120 – 33 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morf Carolyn C. , Rhodewalt Frederik ( 1993 ), “Narcissism and Self-Evaluation Maintenance: Explorations in Object Relations,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 19 6 , 668 – 76 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morf Carolyn C. , Rhodewalt Frederik ( 2001 ), “ Unraveling the Paradoxes of Narcissism: A Dynamic Self-Regulatory Processing Model ,” Psychological Inquiry , 12 4 , 177 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Norton Michael I. , Mochon Daniel , Ariely Dan ( 2012 ), “The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 22 3 , 453 – 60 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Paulhus Delroy L. ( 1998 ), “Interpersonal and Intrapsychic Adaptiveness of Trait Self-Enhancement: A Mixed Blessing?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 74 5 , 1197 – 1208 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Peck Joann , Barger Victor , Webb Andrea ( 2013 ), “In Search of a Surrogate for Touch: The Effect of Haptic Imagery on Perceived Ownership,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 23 2 , 189 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Peck Joann , Shu Suzanne B. ( 2009 ), “The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership,” Journal of Consumer Research , 36 3 , 434 – 47 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pennebaker James W. , Mehl Matthias R. , Niederhoffer Kate G. ( 2003 ), “Psychological Aspects of Natural Language Use: Our Words, Our Selves,” Annual Review of Psychology , 54 1 , 547 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Jussila Iiro ( 2010 ), “Collective Psychological Ownership within the Work and Organizational Context: Construct Introduction and Elaboration,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 31 6 , 810 – 34 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Jussila Iiro , Cummings Anne ( 2009 ), “Psychological Ownership within the Job Design Context: Revision of the Job Characteristics Model,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 30 4 , 477 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Kostova Tatiana , Dirks Kurt T. ( 2003 ), “The State of Psychological Ownership: Integrating and Extending a Century of Research,” Review of General Psychology , 7 1 , 84 – 107 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ruback R. Barry , Juieng Daniel ( 1997 ), “Territorial Defense in Parking Lots: Retaliation against Waiting Drivers,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology , 27 9 , 821 – 34 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ruback R. Barry , Pape Karen D. , Doriot Philip ( 1989 ), “Waiting for a Phone: Intrusion on Callers Leads to Territorial Defense,” Social Psychology Quarterly , 52 3 , 232 – 41 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Rudmin F. W. , Berry J. W. ( 1987 ), “Semantics of Ownership: A Free-Recall Study of Property ,” Psychological Record , 37 2 , 257 – 68 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Scarano Allegra (@allegrascarano), (2017), “Hey, that Volvo commercial stole my favorite song…,” Twitter, January 3, https://twitter.com/allegrascarano/status/816508033891233792. Sedikides Constantine , Keith Campbell W. , Reeder G. , Elliot Andrew J , Gregg Aiden P. ( 2002 ), “Do Others Bring Out the Worst in Narcissists? The ‘Others Exist for Me’ Illusion,” in Self and Identity: Personal, Social, and Symbolic , ed. Kashima Yoshihisa , Foddy Margaret , Platow Michael J. , Mahwah, NJ : Erlbaum , 103 – 23 . Sedikides Constantine , Hart Claire M. , Cisek Sylwia Z. ( 2018 ), “Narcissistic Consumption,” in The Handbook of Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and Controversies , ed. Tony Hermann, Amy Brunell, and Joshua Foster, New York : Springer . Shu Suzanne B. , Peck Joann ( 2011 ), “Psychological Ownership and Affective Reaction: Emotional Attachment Process Variables and the Endowment Effect,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 21 4 , 439 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Sommer Robert , Becker Franklin D. ( 1969 ), “Territorial Defense and the Good Neighbor,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 11 2 , 85 – 92 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Spears Nancy , Yazdanparast Atefeh ( 2014 ), “Revealing Obstacles to the Consumer Imagination ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 24 3 , 363 – 72 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Spiller Stephen A. , Fitzsimons Gavan J. , Lynch John G. Jr. , and McClelland Gary H. ( 2013 ), “Spotlights, Floodlights, and the Magic Number Zero: Simple Effects Tests in Moderated Regression ,” Journal of Marketing Research , 50 2 , 277 – 88 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Tracy Jessica L. , Robins Richard W. , Tangney June Price ( 2007 ), The Self-Conscious Emotions , New York : Guilford . Wallace Harry M. , Tice Dianne M. ( 2012 ), “Reflected Appraisal through a 21st-Century Looking Glass,” in Handbook of Self and Identity , ed. Leary Mark R. , Tangney June P. , New York : Guilford , 124 – 40 . Webb Andrea , Peck Joann ( 2015 ), “Individual Differences in Interpersonal Touch: On the Development, Validation, and Use of the ‘Comfort with Interpersonal Touch’ (CIT) Scale,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 25 1 , 60 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Wetzel Eunike , Robins Richard W. ( 2016 ), “Are Parenting Practices Associated with the Development of Narcissism? Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Mexican-Origin Youth,” Journal of Research in Personality , 63 (August), 84 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Xu Jing , Shen Hao , Wyer Robert S. ( 2012 ), “Does the Distance between Us Matter? Influences of Physical Proximity to Others on Consumer Choice,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 22 3 , 418 – 23 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Research Oxford University Press

Property Lines in the Mind: Consumers’ Psychological Ownership and Their Territorial Responses

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ou_press/property-lines-in-the-mind-consumers-psychological-ownership-and-their-ZRqQBy440j
Publisher
University of Chicago Press
Copyright
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0093-5301
eISSN
1537-5277
D.O.I.
10.1093/jcr/ucx111
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Psychological ownership, or the feeling that something is mine, has garnered growing attention in marketing. While previous work focuses on the positive aspects of psychological ownership, this research draws attention to the darker side of psychological ownership—territorial behavior. Results of five experimental studies demonstrate that when consumers feel psychological ownership of a target, they are prone to perceptions of infringement and subsequent territorial responses when they infer that another individual feels ownership of the same target. Potential infringers are held less accountable when they acknowledge ownership prior to engaging in otherwise threatening behaviors, and when they could not be expected to know that a target is owned, as it was not clearly marked. In addition, high narcissists are subject to a psychological ownership metaperception bias, and are thus more apt than low narcissists to perceive infringement. A multitude of territorial responses are documented for both tangible (coffee, sweater, chair, pizza) and intangible (a design) targets of ownership. Further, consumers infer the psychological ownership of others from signals of the antecedents of psychological ownership: control, investment of self, and intimate knowledge. Theoretical implications for territoriality and psychological ownership are discussed, along with managerial implications and areas for future research. psychological ownership, territoriality, infringement, narcissism, anthropomorphism, metaperception I’m so territorial over my shopping cart at the thrift store. That’s when everyone is out to get me most.         —Tweeted by Jess (2017) The concept of psychological ownership, or a feeling of “It’s mine!” (Pierce, Kostova, and Dirks 2003), has recently garnered significant attention in the marketing literature. Much of the work has focused on outcomes such as willingness to pay (Peck and Shu 2009), word of mouth (Kirk, McSherry, and Swain 2015), and purchase intentions (Spears and Yazdanparast 2014). In the present research, we illuminate the darker side of psychological ownership—its potential to manifest as territorial behavior (Brown, Lawrence, and Robinson 2005). Territoriality research (Brown et al. 2005) suggests people are sensitive to the property lines that define the boundaries of their various psychologically owned targets. Thus, the potential for perceived infringement and subsequent territorial responses may be particularly high in public contexts such as marketplaces. For example, a person who has a favorite table in a coffee shop or restaurant may feel disturbed to find another customer in their seat. Similarly, a sales clerk who takes pride in showing customers his offerings in his store may be inadvertently marking territory and thus putting off customers who seek their own connection to the offerings or the store. Intangible territories can also lead to perceptions of infringement. For example, Twitter user Allegra (Scarano 2017) reports, “Hey that Volvo commercial stole my favorite song,” and others regularly accuse each other of stealing ideas and hashtags. While territoriality may be common in the marketplace, existing research provides limited insight into its genesis—that is, how consumers decide whether they have been infringed. These decisions play a critical role in consumer welfare since infringement not only indicates a perceived threat to the self or one’s possessions, but also calls for assessments of whether or how to deploy potentially costly territorial responses. To shed light on this issue, we integrate theories on territoriality (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005) and psychological ownership (Brown, Pierce, and Crossley 2014; Peck and Shu 2009; Pierce et al. 2003) and find support for an account in which consumers perceive infringement and respond territorially depending on their own level of psychological ownership, their perceived communication of that ownership, and their perceptions of others’ psychological ownership signals (figure 1). Second, we provide the first evidence that consumers perceive others as engaging in territorial marking when they exhibit antecedent conditions of psychological ownership. Third, there is rising interest in the role of narcissism in modern society, yet this trait remains relatively unstudied in marketing contexts (de Bellis et al. 2016; Lee, Gregg, and Park 2013; Sedikides, Hart, and Cisek 2018). We contribute to this effort by revealing that consumers high (vs. low) in narcissism differ in their territorial responses. Finally, we build on the nascent literature on consumer territoriality by expanding the investigation from territories defined by physical spaces (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012) to include territories defined by objects and ideas (Brown and Baer 2015). FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide THEORETICAL MODEL FIGURE 1 View largeDownload slide THEORETICAL MODEL CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES Psychological Ownership Psychological ownership, or perceived ownership (Peck and Shu 2009), refers to a state in which a consumer perceives that a target is closely connected to the self, that it is theirs (Pierce et al. 2003). Feelings of ownership can exist for various targets, from tangible objects such as mugs (Shu and Peck 2011) or T-shirts (Fuchs et al. 2010) to other people (Rudmin and Berry 1987), ideas (Baer and Brown 2012), or physical spaces (Rudmin and Berry 1987). Psychological ownership theory suggests that people develop feelings of ownership by any of three routes: exerting control over a target, investing themselves in a target, and coming to know a target intimately (Pierce et al. 2003). Controlling the right to use a product is a defining characteristic of a possession, and as children grow, they learn that taking control of an object can establish possession (Furby 1978). In fact, simply imagining touching a product can increase perceptions of controlling it, enhancing feelings of ownership (Peck, Barger, and Webb 2013). Investment of self refers to an investment of time, energy, or labor in a target, and we are likely to feel a sense of ownership for that which we “shape, create, or produce” (Norton, Mochon, and Ariely 2012; Pierce et al. 2003, 93). An investment of psychic energy leads to products that “are regarded as a part of self because they have grown or emerged from the self” (Belk 1988, 144). Consumers invest themselves by customizing (Franke, Schreier, and Kaiser 2010; Moreau, Bonney, and Herd 2011) or even imagining interacting with (Spears and Yazdanparast 2014) a product. We also develop feelings of ownership as we come to know a target intimately. We develop a “living relationship” with a product or brand by using it (Pierce et al. 2003, 92) or associating ourselves with it (Beggan and Brown 1994; Rudmin and Berry 1987), thus coming to know it intimately. Over time we become familiar not just with an object’s basic features but also with the ways that we believe it differs or becomes different from other objects of the same sort, facilitating feelings of ownership (Pierce et al. 2003). While often studied in the context of physical space (Edney 1974; Griffiths and Gilly 2012), a territory is a social construct, and a psychologically owned target becomes a territory when it is marked with respect to other people (Brown and Baer 2015). Belk (1988, 142) explains that “if possessions are viewed as part of self, it follows that an unintentional loss of possessions should be regarded as a loss or lessening of self.” Therefore, we propose that due to this threat of lessening of the self, when a consumer has high psychological ownership of a target, perceptions that another person feels ownership of the same target can result in territorial responses designed to restore and defend the psychologically owned territory. Territoriality Whereas psychological ownership refers to feelings of possession of a target, territoriality refers to behaviors, often motivated by psychological ownership, that focus on “constructing, communicating, maintaining, and restoring one’s attachment” to a target (Brown et al. 2005, 579). Of interest in this research are the defensive behaviors consumers exhibit when perceiving infringement, defined as an attempt by another individual to claim an entity that consumers believe they solely own (Brown 2009). Prior research distinguishes between anticipatory and reactionary defenses (Brown et al. 2005; Lyman and Scott 1967). Beyond simply communicating or marking one’s territorial boundaries, anticipatory defenses stem from fear of infringement and are intended to thwart future access to the target. Examples include using locks to prevent access to a space (Brown 2009) or deceptively stating that a neighboring seat in a coffee shop is occupied (Griffiths and Gilly 2012). In contrast, reactionary defenses stem from anger-eliciting events and are used to express negative emotions while thwarting infringement or reclaiming territory (Brown and Robinson 2011). Examples range from showing negative facial expressions (Brown and Robinson 2011) to using a public phone longer after an intrusion (Ruback, Pape, and Doriot 1989) to stronger forms of retaliation such as blocking a traffic lane after being tailgated (Fraine et al. 2007) or complaining to a manager about an employee (Ashley and Noble 2014). Territorial Marking and Psychological Ownership Signals According to Brown and Baer (2015, 1785), “the function of territorial marking is to communicate to others that something has been claimed so as to discourage access, usage, and infringement attempts.” Thus, understanding when consumers perceive territorial infringement from the communications and actions of others is key to determining when a consumer’s own psychological ownership will motivate territorial behaviors. Prior research focuses on control-oriented territorial marking (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Baer 2015; Griffiths and Gilly 2012). Exerting control over a target sends a clear signal of ownership feelings, and others’ control of an object is often the most salient evidence of possession (Furby 1978). For example, consumers signal control of space, such as seating in servicescapes, by using their belongings to mark their territory (Griffiths and Gilly 2012), and may attempt to control unpurchased products by squirreling clothing in a changing room and hiding items within a store for later retrieval. While control is an important form of marking, we suggest that consumers also perceive others as marking territory when they communicate, or signal, investment of self and feelings of intimate (unique) knowledge of a focal target. Consumers who invest themselves by voting on a T-shirt design, even without purchasing it, are more likely to feel a sense of ownership for the shirt and tell others about their involvement (Fuchs et al. 2010). Friedman (2010) demonstrates that a person whose investment of self is necessary for an object to be possessed—for example, a hunter who ensnares an animal hunted by someone else—is perceived to have a claim to partial legal ownership. Similarly, a consumer who supports a crowdfunded business may communicate their psychological ownership of its products by telling others about their investment. Further, demonstrating intimate knowledge of a target can also serve as a signal of ownership. For example, people who are seen in a photo with a product are perceived as having a greater claim to legal ownership of it (Beggan and Brown 1994). In another example, Disney World fans may signal ownership in online discussions by claiming possession of secrets about its construction and operation. Additionally, developmental researchers find that children believe “first possession” accords ownership rights (Friedman and Neary 2008)—an intuition echoed by adult consumers who signal intimate knowledge of products such as a musical act or a new technology by claiming they were the first in their social circle to adopt it. However, others’ signals of psychological ownership may not always lead consumers to respond territorially, even when consumers have high psychological ownership of the same target. In many cases, consumers may realize that they have not communicated, or marked, a territory to a person and thus are willing to discount a territorial threat—to cut the other person a break—and attribute their psychological ownership signal to a less self-threatening motive (Brown et al. 2005). We therefore expect that when consumers’ psychological ownership of a product is high and they perceive that another individual signals ownership of the same target, the strength of consumers’ infringement perception and territorial responses will depend on whether or not they believe their territory is clearly marked, or communicated, to others. We next present the results of five studies, each designed to test key predictions in figure 1. To enhance generalizability, the studies use various targets of ownership (coffee, artistic design, sweater, seating, pizza), infringing others (customers, service providers), consumption contexts (a restaurant, a nonprofit organization, a retail store, a sidewalk café, and an open-air market), and types of territorial responses (e.g., putting up barriers, retaliation, temporarily or permanently abandoning territory; see table 1). We also measure territorial responses in three different ways: behavioral observation, closed-ended questions, and open-ended questions. Table 1 Summary of Studies and Territorial Responses Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Table 1 Summary of Studies and Territorial Responses Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays Target of ownership Context Infringing other Other’s ownership signal Territorial responses Anticipatory defense Reactionary defense Study 1 Coffee Restaurant Server Control Pull coffee cup closer to self Temporarily abandon (leave) restaurant Abandon (not return to restaurant) Negative facial expressions Withhold positive expressions Look away from infringer No tip or smaller server tip Study 2 Folder design Nonprofit organization Nonprofit assistant Investment of self Post selfie with folder on social media (marking) Temporarily abandon (leave) nonprofit Abandon (not return to volunteer) Reduce positive or increase negative assessment of infringer Let infringer lose pen (retaliate) Decrease donation amount Reduce positive word of mouth Study 3 Sweater Retail store Customer Control Use separator bar with sweater Pick up or move sweater Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Not engage the infringer Negative (non)verbal displays Tell infringer sweater is owned Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Assume infringer covets product Study 4 Chair Sidewalk café Customer Control Enlist café staff for assistance Temporarily abandon (leave) café Abandon (not return to café) Let infringer lose money (retaliate) Explain seat is claimed Ask infringer to move Not move to new seat Study 5 Pizza Open-air market Customer Intimate knowledge Temporarily abandon (leave) pizza stand Label infringer as weird or mentally ill Negative (non)verbal displays STUDY 1: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES TRIGGERED BY AN OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL Study 1 tests the prediction that when a consumer feels psychological ownership of a target, another individual’s signal of psychological ownership of the same target elicits perceptions of infringement and subsequent territorial behaviors. We invite participants to a mock restaurant and elicit high psychological ownership of a cup of coffee by encouraging participants to customize it. We then manipulate a server’s psychological ownership signal by having them perform a control behavior (slightly move vs. not move the participant’s cup). Method Participants and Design The lab study was a two-level (server’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) single-factor randomized between-subjects design with 58 student participants. Touching a product promotes feelings of control, thus eliciting psychological ownership of the touched product (Peck et al. 2013). Thus, we argue that when consumers see another person touching a product, they believe that person is signaling feelings of ownership. Accordingly, in this study, the server signaled ownership of the participant’s coffee cup by either moving it or not moving it while inquiring about their dining experience. Six observers were trained in behavioral coding. While prior efforts to document consumers’ territorial responses in the marketplace have been scarce (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012), research in workplace contexts has catalogued a variety of defensive responses (Brown 2009; Brown and Robinson 2011). Observers were therefore asked to record a wide range of behaviors, including any action on the coffee cup, facial expressions, verbal expressions, or any other response to the server’s intervention. Observers were placed in an unobtrusive locale and instructed to watch each participant for 30 seconds after the server intervention. Each participant was observed independently by at least two people. Materials and Procedure Participants were invited in groups of eight to a restaurant study. Upon arriving, participants were told that the study’s purpose was to examine how experiential elements, such as music, scents, and customized coffee, affect attitudes toward a restaurant during solo dining. They were randomly assigned to one-person tables, each set with napkins and silverware. The tables were coded to tell the server whether to move or not move the coffee cup. Dividers separated the tables so that participants were unable to see other diners. A bar was dressed and set with pots of fresh brewed coffee. As prior research suggests that customizing a product (Moreau et al. 2011) leads to more intense feelings of psychological ownership, the bar was set with a selection of sugars, syrups, milks, and flavored powders, and participants were encouraged to creatively customize their coffee. A pretest with 60 MTurk participants confirmed that customization (vs. no customization) of a cup of coffee elicits high levels of psychological ownership of the coffee (M = 4.07 vs. M = 3.45; F(1, 58) = 5.18; p = .03; see web appendix A for details of all pretests). After being welcomed, participants were invited to customize their coffee at the bar. After they returned to their seats with the coffee, the server served them cake. A few minutes later, the server returned and asked, “Is everything okay?” and then either moved or did not move the coffee cup three inches parallel to the front of the participant. Restaurant patrons may feel that servers have implicit permission to move items on a table when acting within a service script. Thus, the server moved the cup in a nonfunctional fashion and did not convey a reason for doing so. A pretest with 119 MTurk participants confirmed that moving the coffee cup in this manner (M = 2.62) versus not moving it (M = 1.64; F(1, 75) = 19.02; p < .001) or moving it for a reason, such as to put down a water glass (M = 2.09; F(1, 76) = 4.13; p < .05), is more likely to be perceived by consumers as a server’s signal of psychological ownership. Reactionary territorial defenses include retaliatory behaviors (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Robinson 2011), and one way consumers might retaliate against an infringing service provider is to leave a smaller tip. Accordingly, participants were given an opportunity to tip the server. They received an envelope containing 10 dimes that they were told were theirs to keep, along with a second empty envelope in which they could place a tip. Measures We measured constructs using seven-point Likert-type scales (anchors: “strongly disagree/agree”; see web appendix B for all scale measures and reliabilities). Psychological ownership of the coffee was measured with five items adapted from prior research (Fuchs et al. 2010; Peck and Shu 2009) and included such statements as “I felt like the coffee I created was ‘my’ coffee.” Infringement perception was measured with three items (Ashley and Noble 2014) and included such statements as “The server infringed on my territory.” Anticipatory defensive behaviors are designed to thwart future infringements and can include temporary abandonment behaviors, such as leaving an area, or more permanent abandonment, such as deciding not to return to an establishment (Ashley and Noble 2014). Permanent abandonment can occur because consumers often view employees as representing the company and will, in many cases, infer that future infringements are probable due to poor employee training or oversight. Temporary abandonment was measured with three items, including “I would leave the restaurant as soon as possible after completing my meal,” while permanent abandonment was measured with two items, including “I would not come back to this restaurant” (Ashley and Noble 2014). Manipulation of the server’s psychological ownership signal was checked by the item, “The server moved my coffee cup on my table.” Results and Discussion Psychological ownership of the customized coffee was significantly higher than the scale midpoint of 4 (M = 5.27; t(57) = 7.77, p < .001) and did not differ by experimental condition (MMove = 5.18 vs. MNoMove = 5.38; F(1, 56) = .31; p = .58). Thus, psychological ownership of the target was successfully elicited. Similarly, participants in the move condition were more likely to recall the server as moving the coffee cup (MMove = 6.12 vs. MNoMove = 1.11; F(1, 56) = 167.76; p < .001). This confirms the server’s psychological ownership signal manipulation. Observer Comments The trained observers’ notes were subjected to thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006) by a researcher and an assistant blind to the participants’ experimental conditions. The following types of behaviors were observed: (a) positive expressions (smiling or expressing thanks), (b) negative expressions (frowning, looking awkward/startled), (c) gazing at the server, (d) gazing away from the server, (e) gazing at the cup, and (f) performing other actions such as nodding or stirring coffee. Each participant was then coded as performing (1) or not performing (0) the behavior. Initial coder agreement for the six categories was high: (a) 89%, (b) 97%, (c) 100%, (d) 91%, (e) 97%, and (f) 89%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Actions performed on the coffee cup (e.g., moving or drinking from it) were also tallied. Results of binary logistic regression analyses revealed that when the server moved (vs. did not move) the coffee cup, participants were less likely to respond with a positive facial or verbal expression (10.3% vs. 22.4%; χ2(1) = 5.51; p = .02), more likely to exhibit a negative facial expression (22.4% vs. 3.4%; χ2(1) = 7.20; p = .01), more likely to look away from the server (31.0% vs. 5.7%; χ2(1) = 11.40; p = .001), and more likely to move the coffee cup toward themselves (13.8% vs. 1.7%; χ2(1) = 4.02; p = .04). There were no significant effects (p > .30) on other neutral behaviors or expressions. Retaliation, Temporary and Permanent Abandonment, and the Mediating Role of Infringement Perception Consistent with the prediction that participants would seek to retaliate against a server’s territorial infringement, ANOVA results reveal that participants’ tips were significantly smaller when the server moved the coffee cup versus when she did not (M = $.62 vs. M = $.82; F(1, 56) = 4.62, p = .04). Perceived infringement was also greater (M = 3.08 vs. M = 1.49; F(1, 56) = 17.16, p < .001). Additionally, regression results indicate that participants who felt more infringed left smaller server tips (F(1, 56) = 16.73, B = –.10, p <.001). Finally, mediation analysis (Hayes 2013; PROCESS model 4) confirmed a significant negative indirect effect of the server’s psychological ownership signal on (a) the tip amount, (b) temporary abandonment, and (c) permanent abandonment through infringement perception. (Note: in this and all subsequent mediation analyses, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Hayes’s (2013) PROCESS models with 5,000 bootstrap samples, and are reported in web appendix C.) In sum, participants whose coffee cup was moved provided smaller tips and were more likely to want to leave the restaurant quickly and to intend not to return, and these effects were mediated by perceptions of infringement. Discussion Study 1 establishes that when a consumer feels psychological ownership of a target, another individual’s control-oriented signal of ownership of the same target provokes infringement perception and territorial behaviors. Whereas prior territoriality research frequently relies on self-reports of past incidents (Ashley and Noble 2014; Brown and Robinson 2011), we provide experimental evidence of consumers’ actual territorial behaviors. To further explore such behavioral responses, we replicated study 1 using a field experiment in a different context (a convenience store) and with a different target of psychological ownership (personal space). In this study, consumers responded territorially by not picking up an infringer’s dropped pen and by leaving the store more quickly. These results are reported in web appendix D. While study 1 is illuminating, key questions remain. First, participants possessed high levels of psychological ownership of the coffee. Thus, it remains unclear whether this is a necessary condition for territorial responses to a psychological ownership signal. Second, the ownership target in study 1, a cup of coffee, was a tangible product. Since prior research finds that individuals can also come to feel psychological ownership for intangible targets such as a job (Pierce, Jussila, and Cummings 2009) or an idea (Baer and Brown 2012; Brown and Baer 2015), it is desirable to examine consumers’ territorial responses to intangible goods. Finally, moving someone else’s coffee cup, even in a service context, might be considered a social norm violation. Prior research finds that consumers are motivated to punish social norm violators due to a desire to restore or maintain social order (Lin, Dahl, and Argo 2013), thus offering an alternate account of our findings. This account contrasts with that of psychological ownership, which posits that consumers are motivated to punish territorial infringers to restore or maintain a personal claim to a territory or to express feelings about infringement (Brown 2009). Study 2 addresses these issues and enhances the generalizability of our findings by using a different marketplace context (a nonprofit organization) and an intangible good (an artistic design) as the ownership target. In addition, in study 2 we use investment of self, a second antecedent of psychological ownership, as the other’s psychological ownership signal. STUDY 2: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES WHEN CONSUMERS’ PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP IS HIGH (BUT NOT LOW) Method Participants and Design Study 2 employs a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (other’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) between-subjects design with 162 university students participating in exchange for course credit. Materials and Procedure Participants were told they were participating in a community service task for a (fictional) local nonprofit organization, Greenway Methods. Upon entering the laboratory, they were greeted by a confederate posing as a student volunteer assistant for the nonprofit. Participants were asked to decorate a folder which would later be used to hold environmental education materials for children. As in study 1, customization was used to elicit psychological ownership of the target. Participants were asked either to copy an existing folder design using stickers (low), or to create their own folder design using stickers and markers (high psychological ownership; Dahl and Moreau 2007; Franke et al. 2010). A pretest with 84 MTurk participants confirmed that creating (vs. copying) a folder design elicits higher psychological ownership (M = 4.16 vs. M = 2.22; F(1, 82) = 57.44; p < .001). Participants completed the folder design task on their own. When the participant was finished, the confederate assistant looked at the participant’s folder and said either, “I see you are finished” (no signal) or “I see you are finished. That looks just like my design” (other’s psychological ownership signal). The confederate was trained to deliver the statements without any affective cues (smiling, frowning, etc.) so as to eliminate confounding. A pretest with 65 MTurk participants confirmed that saying “That looks like my design” (vs. saying nothing about the design) is more likely to be seen as a signal of another individual’s psychological ownership of a folder design (MSignal = 3.79 vs. MNoSignal = 2.63; F(1, 59) = 12.33; p = .001). Measures Two behavioral outcomes were observed. First, as the assistant led each participant out of the lab, she dropped a pen, ostensibly unaware of the loss. The confederate documented whether participants picked up the pen and returned it. Second, after the survey, the experimenter asked participants whether they would stay to decorate another folder. Survey scales capturing additional anticipatory and defensive responses employed seven-point measures including infringement perception and temporary (leaving the nonprofit quickly) and permanent (not returning to the nonprofit) abandonment, measured as in the previous studies. In addition, we captured positive word-of-mouth intentions with three items including “I would recommend volunteering for Greenway Methods to my friends” (Alexandrov et al. 2013). Since social media might serve as a vehicle for consumers to communicate their psychological territories, especially as an anticipatory defense against future infringement, we also asked, “How likely would you be to post a selfie with the folder on social media?” with three bipolar response options such as likely/unlikely. We measured donation intention with a single item, “If you had exactly $100 to donate to a nonprofit organization, what is the most you would be willing to donate to Greenway Methods?” with response options in $10 increments from $0 to $100. An open-ended question asked, “What did you think about the Greenway Methods assistant?” Finally, to examine consumer punishment due to social norm violation as an alternate account, we measured perceived social norm violation with two items (Lin et al. 2013), including “Please rate the extent to which the assistant’s comments to you were a social norm violation” with anchors “not at all” and “very much.” Results and Discussion Results Results of ANOVA with infringement perception as the dependent variable and psychological ownership of the folder design and other’s ownership signal as the independent variables revealed main effects of psychological ownership (MHigh = 1.68; MLow = 1.33; F(1, 158) = 10.28; p < .01) and other’s ownership signal (MSignal = 1.73; MNoSignal = 1.27; F(1, 158) = 18.07; p < .001) on infringement perception. Further, the predicted interaction was significant (F(1, 158) = 5.63; p = .02; see figure 2). In support of our prediction, when the assistant signaled psychological ownership of the folder design, participants with high psychological ownership of the folder design reported higher infringement perception than those with low psychological ownership (MHigh= 2.04 vs. MLow = 1.43; F(1, 158) = 15.56; p < .001). However, infringement perception did not differ between ownership conditions when no other’s ownership signal was present (MHigh = 1.32 vs. MLow = 1.23; F(1, 158) = .35; p = .56). FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL FIGURE 2 View largeDownload slide INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND OTHER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP SIGNAL Binary logistic regressions reveal that as perceived infringement increased, participants were less likely to (a) pick up and return the assistant’s dropped pen (53.7% picked up; odds ratio = .54, χ2(1) = 7.92, p < .01) and (b) to agree to decorate another folder (percent agreeing: 30.9%; odds ratio = .57, χ2(1) = 5.07, p = .04). Regression results further revealed that participants who felt infringed were more likely to (c) leave the nonprofit quickly (temporary abandonment; B = .46, t = 3.12, p < .01) and (d) not to return to volunteer again (permanent abandonment; B = .71, t = 4.85, p < .001). They were also more likely to communicate or mark their territory by (e) posting a selfie with the folder on social media (B = .49, t = 3.17, p < .01). Infringement was also negatively associated with (f) positive word of mouth (B = –.45, t = –3.27, p = .001) as well as (g) maximum donation amount (B = –3.80, t = –1.81, p = .07). We examined responses to the open-ended question, “What did you think about the Greenway Methods assistant?” for common themes and coded them using the same procedure as study 1. Three types of responses were observed: (h) positive (e.g., “nice”), (i) negative (e.g., “not enthusiastic about the organization”), or (j) neutral (e.g., “fine, not good or bad”). Participants were coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement was high: (h) 87.1%, (i) 94.5%, and (j) 92%, and discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Results of binary logistic regression reveal that as infringement perception increased, participants were less likely to (h) perceive the assistant positively (66% perceiving; odds ratio = .47, χ2(1) = 11.77, p = .001) and more likely to (i) perceive her negatively (19.8% perceiving; odds ratio = 1.94, χ2(1) = 7.74, p < .01). The association with (j) neutral comments was not statistically significant (8.6% perceiving; odds ratio = 1.54, χ2(1) = 1.77, p = .16). Bootstrap sampling (PROCESS model 7) confirmed that the conditional indirect effects of psychological ownership of the folder design on the dependent variables, with the exception of willingness to decorate another folder and neutral comments, through infringement perception were significant, but only when the assistant signaled ownership of the design (web appendix C). Finally, to assess social norm violation as an alternate account, the data were submitted to ANOVA with psychological ownership of the folder design and the assistant’s ownership signal as the independent variables, and social norm violation as the dependent variable. Results revealed a main effect of other’s ownership signal on social norm violation (MNoSignal = 1.32, MSignal = 1.77; F(1, 158) = 7.52; p < .01), but no significant interaction (p = .11). Thus, the data are not consistent with an account involving punishment due to social norm violation. Discussion In study 2, we replicated the effects of study 1 using an other’s psychological ownership signal derived from a second antecedent of psychological ownership, investment of self, along with an intangible target of ownership (an artistic design) and a different context (a nonprofit organization). Most importantly, we demonstrated that perceptions of infringement and territorial responses occur only when a consumer has relatively high psychological ownership of a contested target. We further documented actual retaliatory behaviors as well as additional anticipatory and reactionary defenses (Brown 2009). Study 2 also clarifies that consumer-enacted punishments associated with social norm violations versus territorial infringements have distinct motivational bases. Consumers’ punishment of social norm violators is motivated by desire to maintain or restore social order (Lin et al. 2013) and can be viewed as a form of altruism to benefit society (Fehr and Gachter 2002). Thus, these punishments can be delivered even by individuals who are not personally impacted by the social norm violation. For example, Lin et al. (2013) found that observers in a post office were likely to punish another consumer for cutting in front of a third consumer walking through a door with a stroller. In contrast, consumers’ punishments of territorial infringers are motivated by a desire to restore a personal claim to a territory or to provide an emotional expression of feelings about infringement (Brown 2009). Study 3 extends our investigation of territoriality by addressing limitations of studies 1 and 2. First, thus far the infringing other has always been a service provider (restaurant server and nonprofit assistant, respectively). However, consumers may also infringe on each other. Second, in many contexts, others ask for permission prior to crossing territorial boundaries, and such ownership concessions may reduce perceptions of infringement. Finally, an alternative account for our prior results is that the server’s touching of the cup or the nonprofit assistant’s investment of self in the same artistic design may have induced perceptions of contamination and feelings of disgust (Morales and Fitzsimons 2007). Such responses may resemble territoriality. Compared to studies 1 and 2, study 3 employs a different kind of infringer (another customer), a different marketing context (a retail store), and a different target of ownership (a sweater). We also probe for additional territorial responses using further open-ended questions. STUDY 3: CONSUMERS INFRINGE ON EACH OTHER WITHOUT (VS. WITH) PERMISSION Method Participants and Design Study 3 employs a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (other’s psychological ownership signal: no/yes) between-subjects design with 146 MTurk participants. Similar to study 1, touch serves as the means of sending control-oriented signals of psychological ownership. Materials and Procedure Adapting procedures from prior research (Peck et al. 2013; Spears and Yazdanparast 2014), we manipulated psychological ownership of a sweater by asking participants to either merely consider a scenario (low psychological ownership) or to actively imagine themselves in the scenario (high psychological ownership). The scenario began, “You want to buy a sweater for an important upcoming social event with friends. At a retail store, you see a sweater that you think might be OK for this occasion. You bring it to the cash register.” Next followed a list of the sweater’s features (see web appendix A) and either “Please take a minute to evaluate the sweater” (low psychological ownership) or “Please take a minute to close your eyes and imagine you are touching the sweater. Please close your eyes while imagining. Imagine holding it in your hands. Think about how it would feel. For a minute, please close your eyes [YES, please really close your eyes!] as you are imagining touching and wearing the sweater” (high psychological ownership). A pretest with 54 MTurk participants confirmed that imagining touching and wearing the sweater elicited greater psychological ownership of the sweater than merely evaluating its features (M = 3.66 vs. M = 3.14; F(1,52) = 4.03; p = .05). After reading one of the two ownership scenarios in the main study, participants were told “Now, imagine you are waiting in line at the cash register to pay for the sweater. The sweater is sitting on the counter and you have not yet paid for it” and either “The customer in line behind you reaches out and touches the sweater” (other’s psychological ownership signal) or “The customer in line behind you asks you, ‘May I touch your sweater?’ After you consent, they reach out and touch the sweater” (no signal). A pretest with 61 MTurk participants confirmed that touching a sweater without (vs. with) permission is more likely to be seen as a signal of psychological ownership of the sweater (M = 2.34 vs. M = 1.72; F(1, 57) = 4.32; p = .04). Measures Infringement perception was measured as in study 1. We also measured two potential territorial responses. Separator bars are commonly available at checkout counters and can be used as an anticipatory defense to mark territory and enact a barrier to avoid future infringement. Thus, we asked participants, “After the encounter with the other customer, how likely would you be to put the separator bar down behind the sweater?” Second, to examine the potential for retaliation, participants were asked, “As you leave the cash register, you notice the customer behind you has unknowingly dropped a $1 bill on the floor and it is hidden from their view. How likely would you be to tell them about the money?” We obtained responses to both questions using three five-point semantic differential items: unlikely/likely, improbable/probable, impossible/possible. To explore more complex responses to the other customer’s behavior, we asked two open-ended questions: “What do you think you might have said to the other customer in the scenario?” and “Why do you think the other customer touched the sweater?” To allow assessment of disgust as an alternative explanation, we asked, “Thinking about the sweater scenario you read, please indicate on the scale below how much you felt each of these emotional reactions” (Argo, Dahl, and Morales 2006). Nine positive and negative emotions were listed alphabetically, including three focal items (“disgusted,” “gross,” and “unclean”). Results and Discussion Results ANOVA results reveal a main effect of the other consumer’s ownership signal (touch with vs. without permission) on infringement perception (MSignal = 3.32 vs. MNoSignal = 2.34; F(1, 144) = 24.68, p < .001). However, this effect is qualified by a significant interaction (F(1, 144) = 6.77, p = .01). Consistent with our account, participants with high psychological ownership of the sweater reported greater infringement perception when the other customer signaled (vs. did not signal) psychological ownership (M = 3.64 vs. M = 3.00; F(1, 144) = 5.07, p = .03), while those with low psychological ownership did not (M = 2.14 vs. M = 2.53; F(1,144) = 2.02, p = .16; see figure 2). Regression results revealed that greater infringement perceptions are associated with greater intentions to place the separator bar behind the sweater (B = .42, t = 9.39, p < .001) and with lower intentions to tell the other consumer about the money they dropped (B = –.23, t = –4.10, p < .001). The conditional indirect effects of consumer’s psychological ownership on (a) putting down the separator bar and (b) telling about the money due to infringement perceptions were confirmed (PROCESS model 7; web appendix C). That is, the other consumer’s signal of psychological ownership (touching without vs. with permission) elicited anticipatory and reactionary defenses due to heightened perceptions of infringement, but only when the consumer’s own psychological ownership of the sweater was high (vs. low). We examined responses to the open-ended questions for themes using the same procedure as study 1. With the first question, “What do you think you might have said to the other customer in the scenario?” we observed five additional responses: (c) speak negatively to the other customer (e.g. “Please don’t touch my stuff!”), (d) display hostility to the other customer nonverbally (e.g., give them a “nasty” or “mean” look), (e) pick up or move the sweater, (f) tell the other customer the sweater was theirs or that they were purchasing it (mark their territory), or (g) engage the other customer with a question or dialog (e.g., “It’s a nice sweater, isn’t it?”). Each participant was coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement for the six measures was high: (c) 89%, (d) 97%, (e) 100%, (f) 91%, and (g) 89%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. We used binary logistic regressions to examine the effects of perceived infringement on the likelihood of the five responses (percent exhibiting: (c) 20.3%, (d) 4.7%, (e) 4.1%, (f) 8.8%, (g) 20.3%). Results revealed that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to (c) speak negatively to the other customer (odds ratio = 2.2, χ2(1) = 14.98, p < .001), (d) display nonverbal hostility to the other customer (odds ratio = 2.5, χ2(1) = 4.61, p = .03), (e) pick up or move the sweater (odds ratio = 4.2, χ2(1) = 5.50, p = .02), and (f) tell the other customer the sweater was theirs (odds ratio = 1.8, χ2(1) = 5.26, p = .02). They were also less likely to (g) engage the other customer in dialog (odds ratio = .49, χ2(1) = 14.24, p < .001). Bootstrap sampling (PROCESS model 7) confirmed that psychological ownership of the sweater impacted these territorial responses through infringement when the other consumer touched the sweater without asking permission, but not when permission was requested (web appendix C). For the question, “Why do you think the other customer touched the sweater?” four additional responses were observed: (h) the customer liked the sweater/thought they might want to buy it; (i) the customer wanted to feel how soft it is/feel the texture; (j) the other customer wanted a social interaction; and (k) the participant thought the other customer was “crazy,” lacked knowledge of “social norms for behavior,” lacked “manners,” or other similar comments attributing the behavior to a dispositional deficiency. Each participant was coded as providing (1) or not providing (0) each response. Initial coder agreement for the four measures was high: (h) 76%, (i) 77%, (j) 99%, and (k) 97%. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the effects of perceived infringement on the likelihood of the four responses (percent exhibiting: (h) 20.6%, (i) 48%, (j) 20.3%, (k) 10.8%). Results reveal that as infringement perceptions increased, participants were more likely to (h) assume the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater (odds ratio = 1.4, χ2(1) = 4.35, p = .04) and (k) perceive that the other customer was deficient in some way (odds ratio = 1.8, χ2(1) = 4.95, p = .02). Other effects of infringement perception were not significant (p > .35). As expected, conditional indirect effects of consumer’s psychological ownership on (h) perceptions that the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater, as well as (k) perceived deficiency in the other customer, through infringement perception, were significant (web appendix C). Lastly, we examined perceived contamination as a possible alternative explanation (Argo et al. 2006) by repeating the analyses with disgust instead of infringement perception as the mediator. Neither the interaction nor the main effects of the consumer’s psychological ownership and other’s psychological ownership signal on feelings of disgust were significant (p > .22). Additionally, conditional indirect effects through disgust were nonsignificant (p > .10). Discussion Using a different kind of infringer (another customer), a different marketing context (a retail store), and a different target of ownership (a sweater), study 3 demonstrates that relatively high levels of psychological ownership set the stage for territorial responses to infringements. However, study 3 also shows that such responses are muted when a potential infringer acknowledges ownership by asking permission to cross property lines. The territorial responses identified in this study included anticipatory defenses designed to protect the sweater from further infringement (Brown 2009), such as putting down the separator bar or picking up, holding, or moving the sweater, as well as reactionary defenses, such as retaliation against the infringer, negative or hostile verbal and nonverbal expressions, and telling the infringer the sweater was theirs (territorial marking). Infringed participants were also more likely to perceive that the other customer wanted to purchase the sweater. A number of participants derogated the infringer with comments such as “they are an insane person” and “they have impulse control issues.” We return to this finding in study 5 and in the general discussion. In this study, participants’ responses to the open-ended questions were once again consistent with the notion that punishment to restore social order and punishment to repel territorial infringement have different motivational bases. If punishment were serving the purpose of restoring a balance in social order, one would expect to see comments related to fairness or justice (Darley and Pittman 2003). Instead, participants’ responses were clearly meant to convey displeasure to the infringer. Indeed, many of the open-ended responses were vehement in their objections to the other customer, including the use of strong profanities (e.g., “F*** off!”) as well as language expressive of a physical violation of the self (e.g., “Excuse me? Go find the rack where there are plenty more of these to feel up!”). We note that in the contexts of studies 1–3, consumers can reasonably presume that their ownership is clearly communicated to others (e.g., restaurant patrons can presume servers know that table items are theirs). In such contexts, psychological ownership signals from others will be perceived as an infringement. However, there are contexts in which consumers are less certain that their psychologically owned territory is clearly marked. In such contexts, consumers may be more hesitant to respond territorially when individuals cross territorial boundaries. In addition, due to the close physical proximity of the ownership targets to participants in studies 1–3, it remains unclear whether territorial responses will be elicited when consumers are physically distant from their psychological possessions. Study 4 addresses these questions. STUDY 4: INFRINGEMENT AND TERRITORIAL RESPONSES WHEN CONSUMERS HAVE NOT MARKED THEIR TERRITORY Anecdotal evidence and scholarly research suggest that individuals commonly develop psychological ownership for a chosen seat, such as in a classroom (Kaya and Burgess 2007) or coffee shop (Griffiths and Gilly 2012), and may mark their seats or tables with personal belongings in an effort to deter others from sitting there (Sommer and Becker 1969). Further, marketers whose service setting enables infringement between consumers may be held liable in the case of a perceived transgression. In such cases, a consumer may retaliate against both the infringer and the marketer. With this in mind, we chose a sidewalk café in which customers need to leave the seat to go to the bar to order as the context in which to examine the effect of consumers’ territorial marking on infringement perception and territorial responses. Method Participants and Design Study 4 used a one-way between-subjects design (psychological ownership: low unmarked/high unmarked/high marked) with 92 MTurk participants. Materials and Procedure Participants read a scenario describing a sidewalk café: “You are walking through a city one summer afternoon and see an open-air sidewalk café. The tables are attractively set with a small flower centerpiece, a napkin holder, and a small tent card with a table number on it. You walk into the café and are told by the greeter to choose any seat.” Psychological ownership and marking manipulations were then enacted as follows: “You walk over to a seat, but before you sit down, the server arrives to tell you that drinks are available at the bar over on the side of the café. You go to the bar” (low psychological ownership condition); “You choose a seat and relax for a moment, watching the passers-by. The server arrives to tell you that drinks are available at the bar over on the side of the café. You get up to go to the bar” (high psychological ownership condition). Additionally, participants in the high psychological ownership marked condition read: “Before you leave the table, you hang a shopping bag on the back of the chair to show that the seat is taken.” Results of a pretest with 90 MTurk participants confirmed that compared with people who simply walk toward their seat (MLow = 2.56), those who sit in a seat, whether marked (M = 3.78; F(1, 57) = 20.48; p < .001) or unmarked (M = 3.38; F(1, 58) = 6.94; p =.01), feel higher psychological ownership of the seat. Further, psychological ownership of the seat remains constant whether the seat is marked with a belonging or not (p = .17). All participants then read “Now, imagine that at the bar, you choose a cold bottle of water. You bring it back to the table to drink. When you return, you find that another customer is sitting in the seat you had selected.” Results of a pretest with 120 MTurk participants confirmed that an individual sitting in (vs. walking by) a seat is more likely to be seen as signaling psychological ownership of the seat (M = 3.61 vs. M = 2.88; F(1, 114) = 11.30; p = .001). Measures We measured infringement perceptions as in prior studies using a seven-point scale. Retaliation (not telling the other customer about a dropped dollar bill) was measured as in study 3, and temporary and permanent abandonment were measured with five-point scales as in prior studies. An open-ended question asked, “What would you do in this scenario?” Finally, the territorial marking manipulation check consisted of a five-point scale with two statements including, “I marked the seat as mine before going to the bar.” Results and Discussion Manipulation Checks Participants in the high ownership marked condition were more likely to report that their seat had been clearly marked when they had left their bag on it (F(2, 119) = 54.23; p < .001) than when they had not (M = 4.17 vs. M = 2.42; F(1, 80) = 65.47; p < .001) or when their psychological ownership of the seat was low and unmarked (M = 2.09; F(1, 79) = 111.51; p < .001). Territorial marking did not differ between the low and high psychological ownership unmarked conditions (p = .16), thus confirming the manipulation. Results Results of ANOVA with infringement perception as the dependent variable revealed an effect of psychological ownership marking (F(1, 119) = 20.87; p < .001; see figure 3). Post hoc comparisons further demonstrated that participants reported greater feelings of infringement when their seat was marked with their shopping bag (M = 5.33) than when they had not marked it (M = 3.63; F(1, 80) = 24.39; p < .001) or when their psychological ownership of the seat was low (M = 3.08; F(1, 79 = 36.37; p < .001). Infringement perception did not differ between the low psychological ownership and high psychological ownership unmarked conditions (p = .14). Linear regression analysis revealed that as infringement perception increased, participants were more likely to (a) retaliate by not telling the other customer about a dropped dollar (B = –.277, t = –4.49; p < .001), and (b) temporary (B = .174; t = 3.34; p = .001) and (c) permanent (B = .234; t = 5.27; p < .001) abandonment increased. FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide STUDY 4 RESULTS: INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND TERRITORIAL MARKING FIGURE 3 View largeDownload slide STUDY 4 RESULTS: INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER’S PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP AND TERRITORIAL MARKING Responses to the open-ended question were analyzed for themes by a researcher and an assistant blind to the experimental conditions. Participants exhibited four types of behavioral intentions: (d) explain that the seat is taken, (e) ask customer to move, (f) take another seat, and (g) ask café staff for assistance. Participants were coded as exhibiting (1) or not exhibiting (0) each behavioral intention. Initial coder agreement was high: (d) 85.2%, (e) 90.2%, (f) 90.2%, and (g) 99.2%, with discrepancies resolved by discussion. We examined the effect of perceived infringement on the coded responses (percent exhibiting: (d) 30.3%, (e) 18.9, (f) 65.6%, and (g) 8.2%) using binary logistic regressions. Results revealed that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to: (d) explain to the other customer that the seat is taken (odds ratio = 1.96, χ2(1) = 29.36, p < .001), (e) ask the customer to move (odds ratio = 1.61, χ2(1) = 12.34, p < .001), and (g) ask café staff for assistance (odds ratio = 1.74, χ2(1) = 7.73, p < .01), and less likely to (f) take another seat (odds ratio = .41, χ2(1) = 46.16, p < .001). Finally, bootstrapping analysis based on a multicategorical approach (Hayes and Preacher 2014) revealed significant relative indirect effects of territorial marking through infringement perception on the territorial responses in the high psychological ownership marked versus unmarked condition. The relative indirect effects in the high psychological ownership unmarked versus low ownership condition were not significant (web appendix C), with no significant direct effects of territorial marking on participants’ territorial responses (.07 < p < .89). Discussion Using a study context where psychological ownership may be ambiguous and the ownership target is physically distant from the consumer (a sidewalk café where consumers need to leave their seat), we show that feelings of infringement strengthen when consumers believe they have clearly marked their territory in advance. STUDY 5: HIGH NARCISSISTS PERCEIVE INFRINGEMENT WHEN LOW NARCISSISTS DO NOT Through studies 1–4, using different targets of ownership and both control and investment of self-oriented psychological ownership signals, we have demonstrated that consumers’ infringement perceptions and territorial responses hinge on whether they believe they have clearly communicated their ownership to others. An interesting implication of this finding is that consumers who overestimate how clearly they have communicated ownership to others will be more prone to territorial responses. A personality trait that affords a test of this idea is narcissism. We focus on the continuum of normal narcissism rather than narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissism is defined as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance” (Morf and Rhodewalt 2001, 177). Narcissists’ exaggerated self-perceptions are well documented (Paulhus 1998), and individuals who are high in narcissism view themselves as more intelligent, unique, attractive, and higher in status than others (Sedikides et al. 2018). Narcissists signal their perceived superiority through their possessions by purchasing and displaying products that are more unique and positively differentiate them (de Bellis et al. 2016; Lee et al. 2013). Thus, their inflated self-perception should extend to their possessions. For example, high narcissists are more likely than low narcissists to perceive that the products they already own are less frequently owned by others, even when they are not (Lee et al. 2013). Metaperception refers to people’s beliefs about how others perceive them (Wallace and Tice 2012). Narcissists not only overestimate their own positive characteristics, but they also overestimate their metaperceptions of these positive characteristics (Carlson, Vazire, and Oltmanns 2011). For example, narcissists are more likely to overestimate the degree to which others find them physically attractive, extroverted, and open (Carlson et al. 2011). Accordingly, given the importance of their possessions in maintaining their exaggerated view of their unique and positive self-concept (Lee et al. 2013), they likely also overestimate others’ assessment of their psychological ownership of an attractive target. In other words, they believe they have communicated their ownership—their territory—even when others could not be aware of it. These exaggerated metaperceptions of territorial marking should therefore lead high (but not low) narcissists to perceive infringement even in the absence of clearly marked territory. Method Participants and Design Study 5 employed a 2 (consumer’s psychological ownership: low/high) × 2 (psychological ownership signal of other: no/yes) between-subjects design, with narcissism measured as an additional moderating factor with 122 MTurk participants. Materials and Procedure Participants were told to imagine they were visiting a town about an hour away from where they live. We manipulated psychological ownership of a pizza by asking participants to imagine encountering the pizza by accident (low psychological ownership) or intending to find it (high psychological ownership; Lembregts, Pandelaere, and Paolacci 2014). They were told either: “You spent a lot of time planning for this trip because you intended to visit an interesting museum. As you are walking toward the museum, you come across a street fair with a pizza stand. You examine their featured pizza carefully. It looks delicious. You have discovered this pizza totally by accident” (low psychological ownership), or “You spent a lot of time planning for this trip because you intended to get a certain type of pizza that is served at this street fair. You pictured this pizza in your mind and imagined what it would taste like. You attend the street fair and search for the pizza stand. Upon finding the pizza stand you examine their featured pizza carefully. It looks delicious. This pizza is exactly what you intended to find” (high psychological ownership). After reading the scenario, participants completed a measure of psychological ownership of the pizza as a manipulation check. Next, we manipulated the stranger’s psychological ownership signaling by varying their intimate knowledge of the pizza. All participants were told, “Now, imagine that a stranger approaches you.” In the no ownership signal condition, the stranger said, “I am not familiar with the pizza,” while in the signal condition, the stranger said, “I know this pizza well. I call this pizza Antonio.” Anthropomorphizing an inanimate object positions it as a social entity (Beggan 1992; Fridlund 1991), thereby conveying an intimate relationship, which in turn should communicate the stranger’s claim of psychological ownership. Results of a pretest with 81 MTurk participants confirmed that a stranger’s conveying (vs. lack of conveying) such intimate knowledge of a pizza is more likely to be perceived as signaling psychological ownership of the pizza (M = 3.57 vs. M = 1.54; F(1, 77) = 74.79; p < .001). Measures Psychological ownership, infringement perception, and temporary and permanent abandonment were measured on five-point Likert-type scales (see prior studies). Narcissism was measured by the NPI-16 (Ames, Rose, and Anderson 2006) narcissism personality inventory, consisting of 16 forced-choice counterbalanced pairs of statements such as “I think I am a special person” (high narcissism) versus “I am no better nor worse than most people” (low narcissism). Two open-ended questions captured defensive behavioral responses (“What do you imagine you might say to the stranger?”) and attitudes toward infringing others (“Thinking back to the stranger’s comment, what do you think about the stranger?”). Results Manipulation Checks Participants reported significantly higher psychological ownership of the pizza when they intended to find it than when they discovered it accidentally (M = 3.64 vs. 2.32; F(1, 120) = 50.00, p < .001). We performed a confound check to ensure the psychological ownership manipulation did not elicit psychological ownership of the pizza differently in high (vs. low) narcissists. Psychological ownership of the pizza was regressed on the ownership manipulation, narcissism, and their interaction. Coefficients for both the interaction and for narcissism were nonsignificant (p = .98 and .11, respectively), suggesting no confounding. Results Replicating studies 2 and 3, results of two-way ANOVA, with the consumer’s psychological ownership of the pizza and the stranger’s psychological ownership signaling as independent variables and infringement perception as the dependent variable, revealed a main effect of other’s signaling (F(1, 118) = 5.89, p = .02) along with the predicted interaction (F(1, 118) = 5.48, p = .02). Infringement perception was greater when the stranger signaled psychological ownership of the pizza by naming it (thus indicating high intimate knowledge), but only when the consumer’s own psychological ownership was high (M = 2.32 vs. M = 1.49; F(1, 118) = 11.26, p < .001) and not low (M = 1.82 vs. M = 1.80; F(1, 118) = .004, p = .95). Narcissism statement pairs were coded 0 (low) or 1 (high narcissism), resulting in a theoretical range of 0–16 (observed M = 3.57). Results of bootstrap analysis (PROCESS model 3) with psychological ownership of the pizza, the stranger’s ownership signal, and narcissism as independent variables, revealed a main effect of narcissism on infringement (B = .35, t = 3.71; p < .001), qualified by an interaction with psychological ownership (B = –.17; t = –2.80; p = .006). Consistent with our predictions, the analysis revealed a significant three-way interaction on infringement perception (t = 3.71; p < .001). Floodlight analysis using the Johnson-Neyman technique (Spiller et al. 2013) revealed that the two-way interaction between psychological ownership and other’s ownership signaling was significant at the 95% level for participants with narcissism values of 3.15 or higher (67.2% of the sample) but not lower. To probe the interactions further, we examined the high and low psychological ownership conditions separately. Results of bootstrap analyses (PROCESS model 1) revealed that when participants’ psychological ownership was high (but not low), other’s psychological ownership signaling significantly affected participants with a narcissism value of 1.96 or greater (65% of the sample; figure 4). No other main effects or interactions were significant (p > .07). Linear regression analysis further revealed that infringement perception positively predicted (a) temporary (B = .25, t = 2.31, p = .02) but not (b) permanent abandonment (p > .43). FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide STUDY 5 RESULTS: THE EFFECT OF OTHER’S OWNERSHIP SIGNAL ON INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF NARCISSISM Note.—Shows region of significance of the simple effect of other’s ownership signal at different levels of narcissism (MNarcissism = 3.57; SD = 3.52). Vertical line represents point of significance. FIGURE 4 View largeDownload slide STUDY 5 RESULTS: THE EFFECT OF OTHER’S OWNERSHIP SIGNAL ON INFRINGEMENT PERCEPTION AS A FUNCTION OF NARCISSISM Note.—Shows region of significance of the simple effect of other’s ownership signal at different levels of narcissism (MNarcissism = 3.57; SD = 3.52). Vertical line represents point of significance. Responses to the two open-ended questions were coded for valence by a researcher and an assistant blind to the experimental conditions. Responses to (c) “What would you say to the stranger?” were coded 0 if they were positive or neutral (e.g., “I might ask why they chose that particular name for the pizza”) and 1 if they were negative or hostile (e.g., “Please can you mind your own business”). For the question (d) “What did you think of the stranger?” a recurring theme was that the stranger was perceived to be “weird,” “mentally ill,” “odd,” “strange,” or “creepy.” Responses were coded accordingly (perceived weirdness: 0 = no; 1 = yes). Initial coder agreement for the two measures was 90.3% and 92.6%, respectively, and discrepancies were resolved by discussion. We examined the effect of infringement perception on the responses (hostile response “yes” = 37.2 % and perceived weirdness “yes” = 21.3%) using binary logistic regressions. Results reveal that as perceived infringement increased, participants were more likely to (c) respond negatively to the stranger (odds ratio = 1.70, χ2(1) = 5.40, p = .02) and (d) classify the stranger as “weird” (odds ratio = 1.53, χ2(1) = 4.07, p = .04). A moderated mediation analysis in which the conditional process was itself moderated (PROCESS model 11) revealed that the conditional indirect effects of psychological ownership on (a) temporary abandonment, (c) negative response, and (d) perceived weirdness through infringement perception were significant at one SD above, but not one SD below, the mean of narcissism (web appendix C). Study 5 Post-Test We have contended that high narcissists feel more infringement than low narcissists, not because they feel psychological ownership more strongly than low narcissists, but rather because they are more likely than low narcissists to perceive that they have clearly signaled their psychological ownership to others. To examine this contention further, we conducted a post-test with 70 MTurk participants. Participants read the pizza psychological ownership manipulation used in the main study and were told, “Now, imagine that a stranger approaches you” (with no ownership signaling information). Participants’ psychological ownership metaperception was assessed with five five-point Likert-type scale items created for this post-test (web appendix B). This measure included such statements as “Although I do not legally own this pizza, the stranger clearly believes the pizza belongs to me.” Finally, narcissism was measured as in the main study. Post-Test Results Results of linear regression analysis with consumer’s psychological ownership metaperception (M = 2.94) as the dependent variable, and narcissism (M = 4.26, range = 0–14), the psychological ownership manipulation, and their interaction as independent variables, revealed a significant positive effect of narcissism on metaperception (B = .17, t(66) = 3.00, p < .01), with no other significant effects (p = .12). These results provide further evidence of a metaperception bias where high narcissists are more likely than low narcissists to believe they have clearly communicated their psychological ownership to others. Discussion Study 5 adds support to the proposition that consumers with higher levels of psychological ownership are more likely to perceive infringement and react territorially based on others’ ownership signals, and that these signals come in the form of theorized antecedents of psychological ownership: control (studies 1, 3, and 4), investment of self (study 2), and intimate knowledge (study 5). Further, study 5 confirms the novel prediction that high (vs. low) narcissists are more likely to believe that their ownership has been clearly communicated in any given situation, thus making them more likely to perceive infringement and respond territorially when others signal ownership. Examples of narcissists’ exaggerated psychological ownership metaperception were evident in the open-ended responses in the main study. For example, in response to “What did you think of the stranger?” a low-narcissism participant in the high ownership/signaling conditions stated, “I think he was just expressing how much he enjoyed the pizza.” In contrast, a high narcissism participant in the same conditions wrote: “I’m sure he’s a perfectly good person, but he annoyed me because I felt so close to this pizza. It was very special to me, and to find out it was special to someone else made me feel protective over it. I wonder if he said that because he could sense how much I liked it, and wanted to point out that he was closer than I was to it, like he was being superior and trying to be better than me.” High narcissists were also more likely than low narcissists to derogate an infringing other by classifying them as “weird” or “mentally ill,” or even “hallucinating.” Narcissists are subject to an others exist for me illusion (Sedikides et al. 2002) in which they attempt to retain positive self-evaluations by derogating others when outperformed on an ego-relevant task (Morf and Rhodewalt 1993). Therefore, diminishment of infringers may be viewed as an anticipatory defense designed to protect narcissists’ inflated sense of self. If the other customer is “weird,” then anything they might say about the narcissist’s psychologically owned territory can be discounted. At the same time, as noted previously, at high (but not low) levels of narcissism, the effect of the consumer’s psychological ownership on the derogation of the infringer as weird and on leaving the pizza stand reverses (becomes negative) when the stranger openly professes no knowledge of the pizza. In other words, when consumers’ psychological ownership of the pizza was high and the stranger makes it clear that they knew nothing about the pizza, high narcissists were less likely than low narcissists to consider the stranger weird or to respond negatively to them, and more likely to hang around the pizza stand. We did not hypothesize this interesting reversal; however, it is consistent with the others exist for me illusion (Sedikides et al. 2002). We speculate that the fact that the stranger knew nothing of the narcissistic consumers’ psychologically owned pizza reaffirmed their view of themselves as unique, special, and superior, making high narcissists (but not low narcissists) less likely to perceive the stranger as weird and more likely to be interested in speaking with them. GENERAL DISCUSSION Across five studies, we show that an infringement resulting in territorial behaviors may be perceived when a consumer who feels high psychological ownership of a target receives signals that another individual also feels high psychological ownership of the same target. This effect is attenuated when the other person asks permission, thus deactivating the signal (study 3), or the consumer fails to mark their psychologically owned territory in advance (study 4). The effect is also demonstrated for both tangible and intangible targets of ownership (study 2), and is intensified when the consumer is high in narcissism (study 5). Theoretically, we contribute to the research on both territoriality and the antecedents of psychological ownership by showing that these same antecedents can signal psychological ownership to others. Other’s psychological ownership was signaled by control when the server moved the diner’s cup (study 1) and when another customer touched the shopper’s sweater (study 3) or sat in the patron’s seat (study 4). The nonprofit assistant signaled psychological ownership of the volunteer’s folder design by claiming investment of self, a second antecedent of psychological ownership (study 2). Finally, psychological ownership was signaled when the stranger anthropomorphized the pizza, implying intimate knowledge (study 5). In each case, these antecedents signaled the other’s psychological ownership, resulting in infringement perceptions if the customer felt psychological ownership of the same target. Also notable is the exploration of infringement and a rich array of resulting territorial behaviors exhibited by consumers (see table 1), which has been sparse in the literature (Ashley and Noble 2014; Griffiths and Gilly 2012). When infringed upon, consumers may demonstrate reactionary defenses that are intended to express negative feelings toward the infringer or to attempt to restore a claim of ownership (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005). Reactionary defenses uncovered in this research include retaliatory behaviors toward the infringer, such as leaving less of a tip (study 1), not picking up a dropped pen (study 2), not telling the infringer about dropped money (studies 3 and 4), and donating less and reducing positive word of mouth (study 2). Other reactionary defenses include negative or hostile verbal or nonverbal expressions or fewer positive expressions toward the infringer (studies 1, 3, and 5), attempting to reclaim the territory by communicating that the ownership target is already owned by the consumer (studies 3 and 4), and asking the infringer to move or not moving to a new seat (study 4). Anticipatory defenses, intended to protect the consumer from further infringement (Brown 2009; Brown et al. 2005), were also observed. Infringed consumers were more likely to move their coffee cup closer to themselves (study 1); to put down a separator bar when checking out, or to pick up and hold or move a sweater (study 3); to post a selfie with the folder design on social media (mark their territory; study 2); and to enlist café staff in defending their seat (study 4). Additionally, not engaging with (study 3) or leaving the infringer (temporarily abandoning the area) can also serve as ways of protecting our psychological possessions from the possibility of future infringement. Temporary abandonment was observed as infringed consumers were more likely to leave the restaurant (study 1), the nonprofit (study 2), the sidewalk café (study 4), and the pizza stand (study 5). In situations where the infringer was an employee (studies 1 and 2) or the service setting was conducive to infringement (study 4), consumers were also less likely to return to the establishment (permanent abandonment). Further, consumers were more likely to label the infringing other as “weird,” “mentally ill,” or otherwise deficient (study 3), especially if they were high in narcissism (study 5); to assess the infringer negatively (study 2); and to assume the infringer coveted the product (study 3). While other territorial reactions are possible, we have begun to document that there are real costs to marketers when their consumers feel infringed. Our findings concerning temporary abandonment are consistent with prior research in which infringed people depart an area, such as a retail store (Ashley and Noble 2014) or public park (Felipe and Sommer 1966), more quickly. However, in contrast, other researchers have found that people using a phone booth (Ruback et al. 1989) or parking space (Ruback and Juieng 1997) actually hold their ground longer when feeling pressured by a potential infringer. It is possible that this discrepancy can be explained by the notion of resident advantage (Brown and Baer 2011; Edney 1975). A resident of a territory refers to the person who is seen as the occupant, such as the home team in a football stadium, and typically operates from a position of confidence and strength (Brown and Baer 2011). From this point of view, a consumer in a phone booth or a parking lot is clearly the resident of the space, giving them strength to resist pressure and even retaliate by staying longer (a reactionary defense). However, resisting such pressure requires costly resources, especially when the property lines in question are more amorphous than they would be in a car or phone booth. Indeed, the expression “stand your ground” is a metaphor that implicitly compares defending a psychologically owned idea (Brown and Baer 2015) or argument with defending a physical position. In the case of a psychologically owned target, it may be less costly simply to leave in order to avoid future infringement (an anticipatory defense) than to stay and have to defend against a threat. It is clear from the wide variety of territorial responses documented in this research that a deeper understanding of when and why consumers might choose various responses is warranted. We also contribute to the understanding of a key individual difference in the response to signaling of psychological ownership. As a result of narcissists’ psychological ownership metaperception bias, in which they believe their ownership of an attractive target is clear to others, narcissists are more likely to feel infringed and respond territorially when others signal ownership of their psychological territory. The negative responses documented in study 5 are consistent with findings that narcissists are less forgiving of others (Exline et al. 2004) and more likely to derogate and respond aggressively toward others when their performance is challenged (Sedikides et al. 2002), especially when their self-concept is threatened (Bushman and Baumeister 1998). For example, high narcissists in study 5 were more likely than low narcissists to derogate the infringer by labeling them “weird” or “creepy.” We also note that although narcissism is usually negatively associated with empathy, this association is attenuated when individuals take another person’s perspective (Hepper, Hart, and Sedikides 2014). The context of study 4, a busy sidewalk café in which others are visibly seeking a seat, may have facilitated participants’ perspective taking, making it easier for narcissists to justify infringers’ behaviors. In study 5, there was no readily accessible justification for an incursion, and thus taking the unknowing infringer’s perspective might have been more challenging for narcissists. Given differences in territoriality that have been found between individually versus group-oriented individuals (Brown and Baer 2015; Knight and Baer 2014), agentic and communal narcissists (Gebauer et al. 2012) may also respond differently to psychological ownership signals, or even the ownership targets they choose. Further, narcissism is a multifaceted personality trait with both adaptive and maladaptive components (Wetzel and Robins 2016) that might impact narcissists’ ownership metaperceptions (Carlson et al. 2011). More work on this interesting group of consumers needs to be explored. In this research, we also introduce a novel mechanism for increasing consumers’ psychological ownership by manipulating investment of the self. We do this by using either intentional discovery, where effort from the consumer is required (an investment of self), or serendipity, where it is not. We also contribute to the anthropomorphism literature (Aggarwal and McGill 2007) by showing that merely naming an object impacts not only the emergence, but also the expression and signaling, of psychological ownership. This makes sense theoretically, as humanizing an inanimate object by giving it a name is a way of controlling it (Epley et al. 2008) and not only requires an investment of the self but also implies intimate knowledge. However, whereas anthropomorphism may result in or reflect a greater feeling of ownership of the anthropomorphized target, our findings suggest it may also elicit territorial reactions from other consumers, especially if they perceive it as a signal of ownership of their same owned target. We have focused in this work on tangible as well as intangible targets of ownership. Further, we contribute to the literature on consumers’ personal space (Xu et al. 2012) by examining their responses to a personal space invasion through the lens of territoriality (see web appendix D). The expression “I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” which implies overstepping one’s psychological boundaries, literally indicates an invasion of personal and body space. Other, nonverbal responses, such as posture and stance, may be employed as territorial markers, especially if a person is uncomfortable with nonverbals such as interpersonal touch (Webb and Peck 2015). The study of proxemics (Hall 1968) would be illuminating in this context and, similar to narcissists, individuals requiring more space than others may perceive infringement more easily. In fact, differences in responses to a crowded store (Hui and Bateson 1991) may be partially explained by differences in infringement perceptions and territorial responses. Another common, intangible target of ownership is ideas (Baer and Brown 2012; Brown and Baer 2015). In the domain of ideas, an individual, especially a narcissist, may feel that their territory is clearly communicated to others even when it is not. Resulting behaviors may include abandonment, such as never working with the same person again, or retaliation, where a person claims some of the other’s work as their own, with significant intellectual property implications. Other intangibles that consumers may psychologically own and are thus subject to territorial behaviors include brands, consumption and service experiences, and digital content or products (Kirk and Swain forthcoming), providing rich fodder for future exploration. Consumer territorial behaviors such as retaliation and temporary or permanent abandonment have real implications for marketers. Results of this research highlight the importance of understanding how psychological ownership may be signaled, even inadvertently, by marketers and the negative consequences that may result, potentially permitting marketers to optimize training programs, service settings, and communications accordingly. Servers in fine restaurants are trained to wait until the entire table has completed their dinner before removing dishes, and not doing so may elicit territorial responses from diners. Even nuanced interactions may unintentionally trigger infringement. For example, a consumer may suggest they discovered a brand first, implying intimate knowledge and greater psychological ownership. Front-line service personnel may risk generating unintentional negative feelings of infringement and even territorial behaviors by displaying too much intimate knowledge of a brand or idea with consumers whose psychological ownership is already high. On the other hand, service personnel may be able to dampen their ownership signal by complimenting a consumer’s psychological possession (e.g., “That’s a great choice”) before signaling ownership, thereby bolstering the consumer’s self and acknowledging rather than threatening the consumer’s ownership of the product. Even a subtle cue such as the use of the pronoun you or I (Pennebaker, Mehl, and Niederhoffer 2003) may have significant consequences related to interpretations of ownership. Besides territorial behavioral responses, there are likely affective responses for the consumer. Perceptions of an infringement are likely to trigger negative affective responses, which may occur prior, during, and after any territorial responses and could impact subsequent decision making (Herr et al. 2012). Fear (Coleman et al. 2017) could lead to abandonment of the territory (Brown et al. 2005), with resignation or sadness a result, whereas anger could predict retaliatory actions against the infringer (Brown and Robinson 2011). Given the intensely social nature of an infringement interaction, self-conscious emotions (Tracy, Robins, and Tangney 2007) such as shame, embarrassment, and pride may play a role. For example, in study 1, the awkwardness observed in the coffee drinkers’ responses to the server’s infringement suggests they might have felt embarrassment (Dahl, Manchanda, and Argo 2001). In study 3, consumers indicated pride in their sweater, and the high-ownership volunteers in study 2 may have felt pride in their folder design (Kirk, Swain, and Gaskin 2015). That the assistant did not acknowledge study 2 participants’ pride in their self-created designs with positive feedback—an essential part of the study design—may have dampened participants’ enthusiasm for designing a second folder, irrespective of their feelings of infringement. A feeling of creepiness is also an affective response, emerging in the midst of ambiguity as to the presence of a threat (McAndrew and Koehnke 2016). Theoretically, this is also in line with our findings, as the creepiness of the stranger in study 5 emerges only when the consumer has high psychological ownership and there may be an infringement threat. In the present research, we have studied consumers’ individual psychological ownership of targets and their own feelings of infringement. It would be very interesting to examine whether consumers can also feel infringed when others signal ownership for a collectively owned target (Pierce and Jussila 2010), and who the infringing others might be. An example of a collectively owned target might be a crowdsourced brand name or crowdfunded start-up company. It is possible that when ownership is elicited jointly, other co-owners signaling ownership would not be viewed as infringers, but individuals who did not participate initially might be. In many service settings, such as a restaurant in which the customer self-designs their meal, the product is coproduced between customer and service provider, leading to the potential for collective psychological ownership. Once the meal is served, however, possession is transferred to the customer, and the potential for infringement ensues. Finally, as with physical territories (Altman 1975), psychological territories can change depending on a variety of factors, including consumers’ individual motives, features of the target of ownership, the social units involved (such as individuals, groups, or larger social systems), duration of time (whether expectations of ownership are temporary, as with a coffee cup in a restaurant or more permanent, as with a well-worn brand), and consumers’ diverse defensive responses. In an effort to capture some of these varied parameters, researchers have classified territories into primary, secondary, and public (Altman 1975). While this classification was initially developed for physical territories, it may prove useful in responding to some of the many unanswered questions about consumers’ psychological possessions. For example, primary territories are those that are relatively permanent and central to individuals’ lives, such as a special table reserved on an ongoing basis in a frequented restaurant, a custom-designed avatar in a video game, or a consumer’s social media page. On the other hand, secondary territories are less central and often shared among members of a secondary social group, and might include, for example, a favorite local coffee shop or video gamers’ shared environment. Finally, public territories are generally temporary and freely shared and might include a public park or even a website. Territoriality has a rich history in social science research relevant to marketing (Kirk 2018), and researchers are encouraged to mine territoriality theory to gain a deeper understanding of today’s consumers and their more varied and fluid (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2017) modes of consumption. Much more work is needed to more completely understand consumers’ property lines in the mind and their responses resulting from infringement perceptions. While there is more to be done, this research is a necessary first step in using psychological ownership to explore infringement perceptions and territorial reactions in the consumer literature. DATA COLLECTION INFORMATION Study 1 data were collected by the first author and a research assistant in the Mount Saint Mary College psychology lab (Newburgh, NY, March 2016), with the second author as confidante. Study 2 data were collected by a research assistant under the supervision of the second author at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (April 2017), with the first author as confidante. Data for studies 3–5 were collected by the first author from MTurk (study 3: September 2015; study 4: June 2017; study 5: July 2015), with the second and third authors as confidantes. Open-ended responses were coded by the first author and a research assistant at Mount Saint Mary College (studies 1, 3, and 5) and New York Institute of Technology (studies 2 and 4). Data for web appendix D (personal space study) were collected by the first author and three research assistants in the New York Institute of Technology campus store (1855 Broadway, New York City, June 2017) with the second and third authors as confidantes. Data for all studies were analyzed by the first and third authors jointly. The authors are grateful to the editor, Darren Dahl; associate editor, Jennifer Argo; and three anonymous reviewers, whose investment of self during the review process significantly enhanced the article. In addition, the authors thank participants at the 2017 Vienna University Workshop on the Future of Ownership Research, as well as those at the 2017 Society for Consumer Psychology annual conference and boutique conferences in Tokyo and New York City for their valuable input. The authors are grateful to our dedicated research assistants at the University of Wisconsin, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), and Mount Saint Mary College (New York) for their help. Lastly, financial support from the NYIT School of Management, an NYIT Institutional Support of Research and Creativity (ISRC) grant, and the University of Wisconsin School of Business is gratefully acknowledged. Supplementary materials (appendixes A–D) are included as an attachment in the online-only version of this article. REFERENCES Aggarwal Pankaj , McGill Ann L. ( 2007 ), “Is That Car Smiling at Me? Schema Congruity as a Basis for Evaluating Anthropomorphized Products,” Journal of Consumer Research , 34 4 , 468 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Alexandrov Aliosha , Lilly Bryan , Babakus Emin ( 2013 ), “The Effects of Social- and Self-Motives on the Intentions to Share Positive and Negative Word of Mouth,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science , 41 5 , 531 – 46 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Altman Irwin ( 1975 ), The Environment and Social Behavior: Privacy, Personal Space, Territory, and Crowding , Monterey, CA : Brooks/Cole . Ames Daniel R. , Rose Paul , Anderson Cameron P. ( 2006 ), “The NPI-16 as a Short Measure of Narcissism,” Journal of Research in Personality , 40 4 , 440 – 50 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Argo Jennifer J. , Dahl Darren W. , Morales Andrea C. ( 2006 ), “Consumer Contamination: How Consumers React to Products Touched by Others,” Journal of Marketing , 70 2 , 81 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ashley Christy , Noble Stephanie M. ( 2014 ), “It’s Closing Time: Territorial Behaviors from Customers in Response to Front Line Employees,” Journal of Retailing , 90 1 , 74 – 92 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Baer Markus , Brown Graham ( 2012 ), “Blind in One Eye: How Psychological Ownership of Ideas Affects the Types of Suggestions People Adopt,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes , 118 1 , 60 – 71 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Bardhi Fleura , Eckhardt Giana M ( 2017 ), “Liquid Consumption,” Journal of Consumer Research , 44 3 , 582 – 97 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Beggan James K. ( 1992 ), “On the Social Nature of Nonsocial Perception: The Mere Ownership Effect,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 62 2 , 229 – 37 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Beggan James K. , Brown Ellen M. ( 1994 ), “Association as a Psychological Justification for Ownership,” Journal of Psychology , 128 4 , 365 – 80 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Belk Russell W. ( 1988 ), “Possessions and the Extended Self,” Journal of Consumer Research , 15 2 , 139 – 68 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Braun Virginia , Clarke Victoria ( 2006 ), “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology,” Qualitative Research in Psychology , 3 2 , 77 – 101 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham ( 2009 ), “Claiming a Corner at Work: Measuring Employee Territoriality in Their Workspaces,” Journal of Environmental Psychology , 29 1 , 44 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Baer Markus ( 2011 ), “Location in Negotiation: Is There a Home Field Advantage?” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes , 114 2 , 190 – 200 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Baer Markus ( 2015 ), “ Protecting the Turf: The Effect of Territorial Marking on Others’ Creativity ,” Journal of Applied Psychology , 100 6 , 1785 – 97 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Lawrence Thomas B. , Robinson Sandra L. ( 2005 ), “ Territoriality in Organizations ,” Academy of Management Review , 30 3 , 577 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Pierce Jon L. , Crossley Craig ( 2014 ), “Toward an Understanding of the Development of Ownership Feelings,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 35 3 , 318 – 38 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Brown Graham , Robinson Sandra L. ( 2011 ), “Reactions to Territorial Infringement,” Organization Science , 22 1 , 210 – 24 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Bushman Brad J. , Baumeister Roy F. ( 1998 ), “Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 75 1 , 219 – 29 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Carlson Erika N. , Vazire Simine , Oltmanns Thomas F. ( 2011 ), “You Probably Think This Paper’s About You: Narcissists’ Perceptions of Their Personality and Reputation,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 101 1 , 185 – 201 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Coleman Nicole Verrochi , Williams Patti , Morales Andrea C. , and Andrew Edward White ( 2017 ), “ Attention, Attitudes, and Action: When and Why Incidental Fear Increases Consumer Choice ,” Journal of Consumer Research , 44 2 , 283 – 312 . Dahl Darren W. , Manchanda Rajesh V. , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2001 ), “Embarrassment in Consumer Purchase: The Roles of Social Presence and Purchase Familiarity,” Journal of Consumer Research , 28 3 , 473 – 81 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Dahl Darren W. , Moreau C. Page ( 2007 ), “Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences,” Journal of Marketing Research , 44 3 , 357 – 69 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Darley John M. , Pittman Thane S. ( 2003 ), “The Psychology of Compensatory and Retributive Justice,” Personality & Social Psychology Review , 7 4 , 324 – 36 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS de Bellis Emanuel , Sprott David E. , Herrmann Andreas , Bierhoff Hans-Werner , Rohmann Elke ( 2016 ), “The Influence of Trait and State Narcissism on the Uniqueness of Mass-Customized Products,” Journal of Retailing , 92 2 , 162 – 72 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Edney Julian J. ( 1974 ), “Human Territoriality,” Psychological Bulletin , 81 12 , 959 – 75 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Edney Julian J. ( 1975 ),“ Territoriality and Control: A Field Experiment ,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31 6 , 1108 – 15 . Epley Nicholas , Waytz Adam , Akalis Scott , Cacioppo John T. ( 2008 ), “When We Need a Human: Motivational Determinants of Anthropomorphism,” Social Cognition , 26 2 , 143 – 55 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Exline Julie Juola , Baumeister Roy F. , Bushman Brad J. , Keith Campbell W. , Finkel Eli J. ( 2004 ), “Too Proud to Let Go: Narcissistic Entitlement as a Barrier to Forgiveness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 87 6 , 894 – 912 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fehr Ernst , Gachter Simon ( 2002 ), “Altruistic Punishment in Humans,” Nature 6868 , 137 . Felipe Nancy Jo , Sommer Robert ( 1966 ), “Invasions of Personal Space,” Social Problems , 14 2 , 206 – 14 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fraine Graham , Smith Sandy G. , Zinkiewicz Lucy , Chapman Rebekah , Sheehan Mary ( 2007 ), “At Home on the Road? Can Drivers’ Relationships with Their Cars Be Associated with Territoriality?” Journal of Environmental Psychology , 27 3 , 204 – 14 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Franke Nikolaus , Schreier Martin , Kaiser Ulrike ( 2010 ), “The ‘I Designed It Myself’ Effect in Mass Customization,” Management Science , 56 1 , 125 – 40 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fridlund Alan J. ( 1991 ), “Evolution and Facial Action in Reflex, Social Motive, and Paralanguage,” Biological Psychology , 32 1 , 3 – 100 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Friedman Ori ( 2010 ), “Necessary for Possession: How People Reason About the Acquisition of Ownership,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 36 9 , 1161 – 69 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Friedman Ori , Neary Karen R. ( 2008 ), “Determining Who Owns What: Do Children Infer Ownership from First Possession?” Cognition , 107 3 , 829 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fuchs Christoph , Prandelli Emanuela , Schreier Martin ( 2010 ), “The Psychological Effects of Empowerment Strategies on Consumers’ Product Demand,” Journal of Marketing , 74 1 , 65 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Furby Lita ( 1978 ), “Possession in Humans: An Exploratory Study of Its Meaning and Motivation,” Social Behavior and Personality , 6 1 , 49 – 65 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Gebauer Jochen E. , Sedikides Constantine , Verplanken Bas , Maio Gregory R. ( 2012 ), “Communal Narcissism,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 103 5 , 854 – 78 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Griffiths Merlyn A. , Gilly Mary C. ( 2012 ), “Dibs! Customer Territorial Behaviors,” Journal of Service Research , 15 2 , 131 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hall Edward T. ( 1968 ), “ Proxemics ,” Current Anthropology , 9 ( 2/3 ), 83 – 108 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hayes Andrew F. ( 2013 ), Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-based Approach , New York : Guilford . Hayes Andrew F. , Preacher Kristopher J. ( 2014 ), “Statistical Mediation Analysis with a Multicategorical Independent Variable,” British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology , 67 3 , 451 – 70 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hepper Erica G. , Hart Claire M. , Sedikides Constantine ( 2014 ), “Moving Narcissus: Can Narcissists Be Empathic?” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 40 , 1079 – 91 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Herr Paul M. , Page Christine M. , Pfeiffer Bruce E. , Davis Derick F. ( 2012 ), “Affective Influences on Evaluative Processing,” Journal of Consumer Research , 38 5 , 833 – 45 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hui Michael K. , Bateson John E. G. ( 1991 ), “Perceived Control and the Effects of Crowding and Consumer Choice on the Service Experience,” Journal of Consumer Research , 18 2 , 174 – 84 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Jess (@clownbabyyy) , ( 2017 ), “I’m so territorial over my shopping cart…,” Twitter, April 17, https://twitter.com/clownbabyyy/status/851873828506554368. Kaya Naz , Burgess Brigitte ( 2007 ), “Territoriality: Seat Preferences in Different Types of Classroom Arrangements,” Environment and Behavior , 39 6 , 859 – 76 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kirk Colleen P. ( 2018 ), “When Good Fences Make Good Customers: Exploring Psychological Ownership and Territoriality in Marketing,” in Theoretical Orientations and Practical Applications of Psychological Ownership , ed. Olckers Chantal , Van Zyl Llewellyn , Van Der Vaart Leoni , New York : Springer , forthcoming. Kirk Colleen P. , McSherry Bernard , Swain Scott D. ( 2015 ), “ Investing the Self: The Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Investor Psychological Ownership and Word-of-Mouth Intentions ,” Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics , 58 (October), 186 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kirk Colleen P. , Swain Scott D. (forthcoming), “The Psychological Ownership of Digital Technology,” in Psychological Ownership and Consumer Behavior , ed. Peck Joann , Shu Suzanne , New York : Springer . Kirk Colleen P. , Swain Scott D. , Gaskin James E. ( 2015 ), “ I’m Proud of It: Consumer Technology Appropriation and Psychological Ownership ,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice , 23 2 , 166 – 84 . Knight Andrew P. , Baer Markus ( 2014 ), “Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance ,” Social Psychological and Personality Science , 5 8 , 910 – 7 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lee Seung Yun , Gregg Aiden P. , Park Seong Hoon ( 2013 ), “ The Person in the Purchase: Narcissistic Consumers Prefer Products That Positively Distinguish Them,” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology , 105 2 , 335 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lembregts Christophe , Mario Pandelaere , Gabriele Paolacci ( 2014 ), “‘ Get Lucky, Get Punished’: The Effect of Serendipity on the Perception of Innovations ,” Advances in Consumer Research , 42 , 574 . Lin Lily , Dahl Darren W. , Argo Jennifer J. ( 2013 ), “Do the Crime, Always Do the Time? Insights into Consumer-to-Consumer Punishment Decisions,” Journal of Consumer Research , 40 1 , 64 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Lyman Stanford M. , Scott Marvin B. ( 1967 ), “Territoriality: A Neglected Sociological Dimension,” Social Problems , 15 2 , 236 – 49 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS McAndrew Francis T. , Koehnke Sara S. ( 2016 ), “On the Nature of Creepiness,” New Ideas in Psychology , 43 , 10 – 15 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morales Andrea C. , Fitzsimons Gavan J. ( 2007 ), “Product Contagion: Changing Consumer Evaluations through Physical Contact with ‘Disgusting’ Products,” Journal of Marketing Research , 44 2 , 272 – 83 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Moreau C. Page , Bonney Leff , Herd Kelly B. ( 2011 ), “It’s the Thought (and the Effort) That Counts: How Customizing for Others Differs from Customizing for Oneself,” Journal of Marketing , 75 5 , 120 – 33 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morf Carolyn C. , Rhodewalt Frederik ( 1993 ), “Narcissism and Self-Evaluation Maintenance: Explorations in Object Relations,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 19 6 , 668 – 76 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Morf Carolyn C. , Rhodewalt Frederik ( 2001 ), “ Unraveling the Paradoxes of Narcissism: A Dynamic Self-Regulatory Processing Model ,” Psychological Inquiry , 12 4 , 177 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Norton Michael I. , Mochon Daniel , Ariely Dan ( 2012 ), “The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 22 3 , 453 – 60 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Paulhus Delroy L. ( 1998 ), “Interpersonal and Intrapsychic Adaptiveness of Trait Self-Enhancement: A Mixed Blessing?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 74 5 , 1197 – 1208 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Peck Joann , Barger Victor , Webb Andrea ( 2013 ), “In Search of a Surrogate for Touch: The Effect of Haptic Imagery on Perceived Ownership,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 23 2 , 189 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Peck Joann , Shu Suzanne B. ( 2009 ), “The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership,” Journal of Consumer Research , 36 3 , 434 – 47 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pennebaker James W. , Mehl Matthias R. , Niederhoffer Kate G. ( 2003 ), “Psychological Aspects of Natural Language Use: Our Words, Our Selves,” Annual Review of Psychology , 54 1 , 547 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Jussila Iiro ( 2010 ), “Collective Psychological Ownership within the Work and Organizational Context: Construct Introduction and Elaboration,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 31 6 , 810 – 34 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Jussila Iiro , Cummings Anne ( 2009 ), “Psychological Ownership within the Job Design Context: Revision of the Job Characteristics Model,” Journal of Organizational Behavior , 30 4 , 477 – 96 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pierce Jon L. , Kostova Tatiana , Dirks Kurt T. ( 2003 ), “The State of Psychological Ownership: Integrating and Extending a Century of Research,” Review of General Psychology , 7 1 , 84 – 107 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ruback R. Barry , Juieng Daniel ( 1997 ), “Territorial Defense in Parking Lots: Retaliation against Waiting Drivers,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology , 27 9 , 821 – 34 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ruback R. Barry , Pape Karen D. , Doriot Philip ( 1989 ), “Waiting for a Phone: Intrusion on Callers Leads to Territorial Defense,” Social Psychology Quarterly , 52 3 , 232 – 41 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Rudmin F. W. , Berry J. W. ( 1987 ), “Semantics of Ownership: A Free-Recall Study of Property ,” Psychological Record , 37 2 , 257 – 68 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Scarano Allegra (@allegrascarano), (2017), “Hey, that Volvo commercial stole my favorite song…,” Twitter, January 3, https://twitter.com/allegrascarano/status/816508033891233792. Sedikides Constantine , Keith Campbell W. , Reeder G. , Elliot Andrew J , Gregg Aiden P. ( 2002 ), “Do Others Bring Out the Worst in Narcissists? The ‘Others Exist for Me’ Illusion,” in Self and Identity: Personal, Social, and Symbolic , ed. Kashima Yoshihisa , Foddy Margaret , Platow Michael J. , Mahwah, NJ : Erlbaum , 103 – 23 . Sedikides Constantine , Hart Claire M. , Cisek Sylwia Z. ( 2018 ), “Narcissistic Consumption,” in The Handbook of Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and Controversies , ed. Tony Hermann, Amy Brunell, and Joshua Foster, New York : Springer . Shu Suzanne B. , Peck Joann ( 2011 ), “Psychological Ownership and Affective Reaction: Emotional Attachment Process Variables and the Endowment Effect,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 21 4 , 439 – 52 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Sommer Robert , Becker Franklin D. ( 1969 ), “Territorial Defense and the Good Neighbor,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 11 2 , 85 – 92 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Spears Nancy , Yazdanparast Atefeh ( 2014 ), “Revealing Obstacles to the Consumer Imagination ,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 24 3 , 363 – 72 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Spiller Stephen A. , Fitzsimons Gavan J. , Lynch John G. Jr. , and McClelland Gary H. ( 2013 ), “Spotlights, Floodlights, and the Magic Number Zero: Simple Effects Tests in Moderated Regression ,” Journal of Marketing Research , 50 2 , 277 – 88 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Tracy Jessica L. , Robins Richard W. , Tangney June Price ( 2007 ), The Self-Conscious Emotions , New York : Guilford . Wallace Harry M. , Tice Dianne M. ( 2012 ), “Reflected Appraisal through a 21st-Century Looking Glass,” in Handbook of Self and Identity , ed. Leary Mark R. , Tangney June P. , New York : Guilford , 124 – 40 . Webb Andrea , Peck Joann ( 2015 ), “Individual Differences in Interpersonal Touch: On the Development, Validation, and Use of the ‘Comfort with Interpersonal Touch’ (CIT) Scale,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 25 1 , 60 – 77 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Wetzel Eunike , Robins Richard W. ( 2016 ), “Are Parenting Practices Associated with the Development of Narcissism? Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Mexican-Origin Youth,” Journal of Research in Personality , 63 (August), 84 – 94 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Xu Jing , Shen Hao , Wyer Robert S. ( 2012 ), “Does the Distance between Us Matter? Influences of Physical Proximity to Others on Consumer Choice,” Journal of Consumer Psychology , 22 3 , 418 – 23 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

Journal of Consumer ResearchOxford University Press

Published: Nov 10, 2017

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off