HOARDING

The drive to save appears to be a dominating characteristic in certain individuals. Such people derive basic satisfaction simply from accumulating money or objects as opposed to putting them to use. The tendency goes far beyond ordinary thriftiness or prudence, and has a compulsive, insatiable, and irrational quality that puts it in the class of personality or character disorders. In addition, hoarding of trash and useless objects is frequently observed in deteriorated schizophrenics and patients with organic brain disorders.rich Fromm (1947) considers the “hoarding orientation” to be a major character type. This kind of individual bases his security upon what he can save or own. His attitude toward other people is to possess rather than to love them, and any form of personal intimacy is threatening to him. He is obstinate, rigid, obsessively orderly, and tends to be more concerned about death and destruction than about life and growth. Though many examples of the hoarding orientation can be found today, this character type was far more prevalent in the relatively stable bourgeois economy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.Fromm’s hoarding orientation is clinically similar to the “anal character” described by Freud. According to psychoanalytic theory, interest in the feces, which characterizes the anal period of early childhood, becomes displaced to money and other pleasurable possessions. Saving and hoarding symbolize the sense of power which the individual first experienced when he retained his bodily wastes in defiance of his mother. These drives are therefore believed to be particularly strong in persons who constantly and deliberately withheld the feces as a reaction to their mother’s overconcern about elimination. Many of these individuals show a history of constipation in the early years, and this is interpreted as a form of revenge against the mother as well as an attempt to obtain anal-erotic gratification at her hands by forcing her to use enemas or suppositories. In this view, hoarding and miserliness are a continuation of the pattern of anal retention in adult life. See PSYCHOSEXUAL DEVELOPMENT, ANAL CHARACTER.A large number of observations have been made on hoarding in animals, but very few definitive findings have resulted. The most common hoarders are rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, pack rats, and European hamsters. California woodpeckers have been found to hoard acorns in the holes they drill in trees. Some investigators, such as Morgan (1947), regard hoarding as instinctive; others, such as Marx (1950), believe it is basically learned; while still others, including Bevan and Grot- sky (1958), place it somewhere in between, holding that the impulse is derived from the manipulation drive.In a typical laboratory experiment, rodents are placed in cages with an alleyway leading to a bin containing food pellets. Morgan et al. (1943), found that when rats were kept on a restricted diet for a week or more and then placed in this set-up, they tended to hoard more than well-fed rats, and continued to hoard after they had eaten their fill. However, food deprivation is not the only factor in hoarding, since rats hoard saccharin-flavored foods even when they have had ample food to eat. This indicates that food preference may be a factor. There is also evidence that this drive may in some cases be related to dietary deficiencies, for when lettuce and codliver oil are introduced into the diet, the tendency to hoard is often reduced. On the other hand, hoarding behavior is not affected by injecting rats with glucose before a hoarding test (Stellar, 1943), or by raising them on diets deficient in carbohydrates, fats, or proteins (Bindra, 1947).Experience may also be a factor. Holland (1954) found that a group of rats given hoarding experiences in the set-up described above tended to hoard more than a group that was only allowed to explore the alley. On the other hand, Smith and Ross (1953) found that mice reared on food pellets which can be readily hoarded did not differ from those reared on liquid diets.experiments involving temperature control and brain surgery have also been made. McCleary and Morgan (1946) found that lowering the temperature substantially increases hoarding. This may be an important key to the behavior-pattem. Operations performed on the nervous system indicate that even small lesions made along the midline of the brain have the effect of reducing hoarding (Stamm, 1953). This suggests the possibility that the cingulate gyrus, which is known to be involved in motivation, may have something to do with this activity.So far these studies have been suggestive rather than conclusive. The only clear indication is that many complex factors are probably involved in this activity.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "HOARDING," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/hoarding/ (accessed November 30, 2020).
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