TEAM: Daniela Navaes | Jing Zhao | Jordy Tam | Nathassha di Pasquale

Since the notion of “systems of value” is central to the brief, we had a few discussions about how we could get people’s input on that. We then came up with an experiment in order to understand what parameters people use to determine how much perceived value an object has. More specifically, we wanted to investigate three questions:

  • What are the systems of values that people associate with used/personal objects?
  • How do stories and narratives affect the perceived value of an object?
  • Are there subjective differences between the exchange value (cost) and the use value (practical and personal meaning) of an object?

First, between ourselves, we selected two personal items that have high personal meaning for us.


We wrote the stories behind these objects that explain why they are meaningful to us and high in personal value. We also determined the cost value of each of these objects. Based on these two parameters, we set up a chart.

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 17.28.16

For our own reference, we placed our own objects in the scale accordingly.

Then, we set up a room with two charts and made cards out of the objects so we’d test how other people would rate the same objects, as in what was their perceived personal value (for the owner) and cost value of them. First, they would do it without any information about the object, and then we’d reveal the story and the cost of the objects and see how would their perception if the objects changed. Then we’d reveal the positions in which the owners placed the objects and observed their reactions.

The results were interesting and somewhat unexpected. We also asked people what are two objects of their own possession that they would put on extreme high value and no value. Among other things, one of our key findings throughout the whole experiment is that high value is strongly related to time (as in how old something is) and information (as in memories and stories shared with other people).

We’ll use that as a prompt to our next steps. Next week, we’ll be narrowing down our investigations into the value of information, more specifically, digital information.


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