The belief that someone’s essence is passed to an object they’ve come in contact with is still going strong, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. After analyzing auctions that sold items belonging to John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, researchers found that those believed to be touched by the celebrities, such as jewelry or furniture, sold for a higher price. On the other hand, objects owned and touched by disliked individuals, such as Bernard “Bernie” Madoff, were purchased for less than their face value. However, if the Madoff item had been sanitized, individuals were more willing to pay 17% more for it.
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