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The IKEA Effect

Posted by vince
Published on 13 September 2023

The IKEA effect

The IKEA effect is thought to be caused by numerous factors, including the following:

  • The sunk cost fallacy is the tendency to continue investing in something, even when it is clear that the investment will not be profitable. In the case of the IKEA effect, people may continue to value a product even after it has been assembled because they have already invested time and effort into it.
  • The endowment effect is the tendency to value something more highly simply because we own it. In the case of the IKEA effect, people may value a product more highly simply because they have assembled it themselves.
  • The feeling of accomplishment: We feel accomplished when we assemble a product. This can lead us to value the product more highly because it represents our own achievement.

The IKEA Effect

The IKEA effect can have several consequences. It can lead people to overspend on products because they are willing to pay more for something they have assembled. It can also make people less inclined to dispose of products they have assembled, even if they are no longer needed or wanted.

Many things can be done to avoid the IKEA effect. One is to be aware of the bias and to resist it consciously. Another is to gather as much information as possible about the product before assembling it so that you can decide whether it is worth the investment. Finally, you can try to find ways to enjoy the product without assembling it yourself, such as by buying it pre-assembled or by hiring someone to assemble it for you.

Here are some examples of the IKEA effect:

  • People are likelier to value furniture they have assembled themselves than a similar piece they bought pre-assembled.
  • People are likelier to keep clothing they have sewn themselves than a similar piece of clothing they bought off the rack.
  • People are likelier to enjoy a meal they have cooked themselves than a similar meal they ordered at a restaurant.

The IKEA effect is a powerful cognitive bias that can significantly impact our purchasing decisions. By being aware of and avoiding this bias, we can make better decisions about the products we buy.

There are many Cognitive Biases, many more than most people realise. If you want to think your way out of a mind trap, you must first realize that you're already trapped. 

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