Creation in judgments about the
establishment of ownership


In four experiments, we examine whether people judge that creators are accorded ownership of their creations. We find that people judge that an agent who creates an object comes to own it, and that this effect of creation holds even when controlling for other factors typically associated with ownership, including physical possession and labor. Experiment 1 shows that ownership is ascribed more to an agent who successfully creates than an agent who fails to create. Experiment 2 suggests that ownership is ascribed more when creation is intentional rather than unintentional. Experiment 3 then shows that creation matters over-and-above the labor involved in creation. Finally, Experiment 4 shows that creation leads to ownership even when new creations are worth less than the materials from which they are made. These findings are informative about people's decision- making about how new ownership is established, and broaden knowledge regarding the social implications of creation.

Levene, M., Starmans, C. & Friedman, O. (2015). Creation in judgments about the establishment of ownership. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 60, 103-109.