Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Do you have a favorite mug? 5 reasons for this emotional bond

woman with mug

Do you have a favorite mug that only you are using? Do you think that your cup is irreplaceable? Do you become nervous or get angry if someone uses your mug? If you are among those people who love so much their mug you should know that you are not alone.

According to a survey conducted by the company Heinz Cup Soup, the 60% of people have an emotional bond with their favorite cup. 40% said their cup was irreplaceable and around a third confessed that would go mad at the only thought of breaking it. It's strange how we feel connected, irrationally, to some objects whose emotional value far exceeds the economic one.

Why do we become attached to our mug?

1. It belongs to us. If eventually you happen to use the cup of another person you’ll probably notice how possessive can be some people with their own mug. In fact, the survey found that one-sixth of those surveyed admitted to getting angry if someone was using their cup. This is due, at least in part, to what is known as “Effect of Ownership”. In practice, once acquired them we have a tendency to overestimate the value of our things, far above their real value.

2. It activates memories. However, the obsession with cups can not simply be explained by the effect of ownership, since we are not so possessive with other objects like a fork or a favorite dish. The problem is that cups are a very common gift that is usually associated with certain persons or memories. The emotions evoked by a cup may be very strong, even though we are not always aware of it. In fact, often our cup reminds us not only of the past, but also creates a sense of security and tranquility that makes us feel good.

3. It represents you. One of the most distinctive features of cups, respect to other objects, is that usually have logos, phrases or images with which we feel particularly identified. Cups are one of those highly customizable objects with which we can identify, because in them we find a message that echoes in our identity. Our mug reflects a part of our personality, for this reason we have developed such a strong bond with it.

4. It is part of the routine. We are people of habit, repeating the same thing makes us feel safe. And it is likely that your cup takes part in some of the routine that you love. Perhaps you wake up and have breakfast with your cup, and then get back to it while you relax, to enjoy a hot chocolate or tea. In fact, if you think about it, usually our cup takes part in many of these relaxing routine. Also, it is with us even when we have to work until late at night or when we feel bad, so it is normal that ends up becoming a “loyal” object.

5. It comforts you. Mugs conquer our affection also because normally we use them to drink hot beverages. In fact, a research conducted by the universities of Yale and Colorado revealed that holding in our hands a hot cup generates positive feelings towards others, it makes sure that we trust and get closer to them. It was also found that taking a hot bath makes us feel better and relieves loneliness, the same way that keeping in our hands a cup filled with hot water. Therefore, it is normal to end up associating our cup to pleasant feelings that make us feel good.

Bargh, J. & Shalev, I. (2012) The substitutability of physical and social warmth in daily life. Emotion; 12(1): 154–162.
Morewedge, C. K. et. Al. (2009) Bad riddance or good rubbish? Ownership and not loss aversion causes the endowment effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; 45(4): 947–951.


Keep feeding your neurons

Do you have a favorite mug? 5 reasons for this emotional bond
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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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