European journal of social psychology vol:25 issue:5 pages:559-575
Experimental evidence is presented supporting Nuttin's (1985, 1987) conclusion that the name letter effect (i.e. a preference for letters occurring in the own name above not-own name letters) is an affective consequence of mere ownership. We argue that 'evaluative conditioning' (e.g. Martin & Levey, 1987) was not fully eradicated by Hoorens (1990) as an alternative explanation for the name letter effect. In the present experiment, we tried to separate evaluative conditioning from ownership induction. An essential requirement for 'mere' ownership postulated by Nuttin (1987) is that the preferences for owned versus not-owned objects are measured or obtained in absence of subjects' awareness of their belongingness to self: This criterion was perhaps not fully satisfied. However, our results are more in agreement with the mere ownership view than with an account solely based on evaluative conditioning. The mere ownership effect (i.e. a preference for any object belonging to the self above any similar object belonging to another) is described as disclosing a purely affective self-bias.