Our Stuff, Ourselves


By Francine Russo F. ルッソ
English 日本語 日本語
In a colorfully decorated classroom, a five-year-old boy is asked to describe his favorite belonging. He talks effusively about the dinosaur T-shirt his mom forced him to put in the wash that morning. Then he plays two simple computer games, trying, of course, to win. But the fix is in: experimenters have arranged that he will win one game and lose the other (and, to avoid suffering harm, will win a third and final game at the experiment’s end). After winning and after losing, he, like the other boys and girls in this 2015 study conducted by psychologist Gil Diesendruck of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and his colleague, is asked by an adult whether he would be willing to lend this favorite thing to another child for one night.  カラフルに装飾された教室で,5歳の男の子がお気に入りの持ち物について話すよう求められた。彼は,今朝,母親に言われて渋々洗濯機に入れた恐竜柄のTシャツについて熱っぽく語った。その後,2つの簡単なコンピューターゲームをする。もちろん勝とうとするのだが,ゲームは仕組まれており,1つのゲームでは勝ち,もう1つのゲームでは負けるようになっていた(悪影響を避けるため,実験の最後に用意した3つ目のゲームでは男の子が勝つようにしてある)。勝った後と負けた後のそれぞれで,男の子はお気に入りのTシャツを他の子供に一晩貸してもよいかと尋ねられた。
 これはイスラエルのバル=イラン大学の心理学者ディーセンドラック(Gil Diesendruck)らが2015年に行った実験で,他の子供たちも同様の質問を受けた。
This experiment set out to explore whether injury to young children’s sense of self resulted in a stronger attachment to personally meaningful possessions. The results were dramatic. Children were almost twice as likely to be willing to share their most treasured belonging after winning the game than after losing. Yet in a control situation involving possessions they cared less about, the children’s success or failure in the games had no effect on their willingness to part with the items.  この実験の目的は,幼児が自意識を傷つけられると大切に思っている所有物への愛着を強めるかどうかを調べることにあった。結果は目を見張るものだった。最も大切な所有物を他人に貸してもよいと幼児が答える確率は,ゲームに勝った後では負けた後の約2倍だった。これに対し,それほど大切でない所有物の場合には,ゲームの勝敗は判断に何の影響も及ぼさなかった。
Such experiments are among the latest efforts to understand the deeply emotional and psychologically complex relationship between humans, their sense of security and their material possessions. Much of this new research builds on the late 20th- century work of pioneering psychologists John Bowlby, Mary Ains­worth and Donald Winnicott. They famously theorized that an infant’s attachment to his or her mother and the quality of that attachment significantly influenced that child’s future relationships. Winnicott also suggested that as an infant begins to perceive that he or she has an independent self that is separate from the mother, that infant can learn to feel more secure with a “transitional object” that stands in for her. In popular parlance, we call this a “security blanket.”  こうした実験は,人間と安心感,物質的所有物の間にある非常に感情的で心理学的に複雑な関係を解明しようとする最近の取り組みの1つだ。これらの新たな研究は,先駆的な心理学者のボウルビィ(John Bowlby)とエインスワース(Mary Ainsworth),ウィニコット(Donald Winnicott)が20世紀後半に行った研究に端を発している。
Since then, other branches of science, from evolutionary psychology and anthropology to consumer research and neuroscience, have affirmed that our belongings fill many emotional needs. They comfort us amid loneliness and boost our confidence about our abilities.  以来,進化心理学や人類学,消費者行動研究,神経科学といった他の分野でも,所有物が様々な感情的ニーズを満たしてくれることが確認されてきた。所有物は寂しいときに慰めとなったり,自分の能力に対する自信を強めてくれたりする。