Episode 43

Stephanie Preston: Our Attachment to Stuff


December 19th, 2022

1 hr 3 secs

Season 3

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About this Episode

Stephanie Preston (University of Michigan) returns to the show to talk about her latest research. Why do we hoard stuff? And how can we get people to care about the consequences of all that stuff on the environment? Her research has taken her from the strategies that some rats use to hide seeds (some hide in lots of small caches, while others hoard in a single location), to the cognitive/neural/emotional mechanisms of human beings with hoarding disorder. People tend to have emotional attachments to the stuff they own, and although most of us have more stuff than we need, for those with hoarding disorder it can be overwhelming.

In other recent research, Stephanie and her colleagues found individual differences in how connected people felt to the environment -- impassive people were less likely to be concerned about the destructive effects on the environment, and that politically conservative people tended to be more impassive.

Paper discussed:

Bickel, L. A., & Preston, S. D. (2022). Environmental impassivity: Blunted emotionality undermines concern for the environment. Emotion. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0001072

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