"I wouldn't choose that key ring; it's not me": A Design Study of Cherished Possessions and the Self

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
2016
Issue Date:
2016-11-29
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We each possess certain objects that are dear to us for a variety of reasons. They can be sentimental to us, bring us delight through their use or empower us. Throughout our lives, we use these cherished possessions to reaffirm who we are, who we were and who we wish to become. To explore this, we conducted a design study that asked ten participants to consider their emotional attachment towards and the identity-relevance of cherished and newly introduced possessions. Participants were then asked to elaborate on their responses in interviews. Through a thematic analysis of these responses, we found that the emotional significance of possessions was reportedly influenced by both their relevance to selfhood and position within a life story. We use these findings to discuss how the design of new products and systems can promote emotional attachment by holding a multitude of emotionally significant meanings to their owners.
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