Possessions and memories

Elise van den Hoven (Lead / Corresponding author), Daniel Orth, Annemarie Zijlema

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    1353 Downloads (Pure)


    People often acquire souvenirs and photographs to facilitate remembering, but possessions and memories can relate to each other in a variety of ways. This review paper presents four different connection types found between meaningful things in our everyday lives and our personal memories. Each connection type either focuses on possessions or memories and the connection between the two is either active or lost. These perspectives will be detailed through examples of studies and design cases from different fields and research areas. More studies have been found focusing on existing connections between possessions and memories, such as in human-computer interaction, design, material culture, psychology and marketing, than those lost, which were specifically focused around ageing, forgetting, heirlooms, identity and hoarding behaviour. Our review of connections between possessions and memories accumulate to suggest the attachment people ascribe to certain possessions is mirrored by the ability of objects to fulfil people's desire to preserve, embody, showcase and recollect certain memories.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)94-99
    Number of pages6
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
    Early online date25 Aug 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


    • Possessions
    • autobiographical remembering
    • memories and meaning
    • ownership
    • associations
    • identity
    • objects that cue memories

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Psychology


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