Researchers from Ohio State University and Illinois State University tested how touching an item before buying affects how much they are willing to pay for an item. A simple experiment with an inexpensive coffee mug revealed that in many cases, simply touching the coffee mug for a few seconds created an attachment that led people to pay more for the item.
The results, which were published recently in the journal Judgment and Decision Making, found that people become personally attached to the mug within the first 30 seconds of contact.
Handling the mug increased the value of the mug by significant percentages, based on what participants were willing to pay in an auction setting.
Not definitive, of course, because it's just one study. But it seems intuitively reasonable, and has implications for online and bricks & mortar marketers.