The tendency for people to place a disproportionately high value on objects that they partially assembled themselves, such as furniture from IKEA, regardless of the quality of the end result.
The IDEA effect was introduced in the paper “The ‘IKEA Effect’: When Labor Leads to Love” by Michael I. Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely. In their research, they asked participants to build various products (both utilitarian and non-utilitarian) in a series of experiments. The results indicate that the participants attached great value to the products they successfully made themselves. The reason it happens is that the work boosted the participants feeling of competence. However, the IKEA effect only happened when participants were successful.
I enjoy some DIY hobbies including knitting, sewing, and cooking and succumb to the IKEA effect all the time.
There are implications in the workplace or in academia. For example, I warn student groups about the IKEA Effect when working on class projects and advise them to be critical of their work before handing it in. I tell them about other cognitive biases, such as the bandwagon effect and the planning fallacy, and the IKEA effect is always their favorite.
Listen to or read the NPR story about the research.
When have you seen the IKEA effect in action?