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Why do people choose to surround themselves with possessions? An explanation has been offered by D. A. Norman (2004) in terms of the stimulation of 3 levels of psychological processing that map onto an object's appearance, its usability, and its ability to evoke reflective processing, including emotion. Two experiments were carried out to investigate participants' choices among valued objects, and found that affective factors (including links to current and past, euphoric and dysphoric emotion) played a dominant role in predictive modeling. The role was, however, significantly modulated by alexithymia. The extent to which object choice could be predicted was lower for those with higher levels of alexithymia than for those with lower levels. Nevertheless, a prominent linkage to current dysphoria was observed to emerge for higher levels of alexithymia, whose implications are considered.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





340 - 349


Affect, Affective Symptoms, Choice Behavior, Humans, Memory, Motivation, Recognition (Psychology), Visual Perception