Why does staging influence potential buyers when the actual house hasn’t changed? What’s the psychology at work here?

Buyers need to be able to visualize how they will live and fit into a home, so you need a balance of inviting but neutral elements. When you show your home to prospective buyers as you typically live in it, there are usually too many distractions that keep them from imagining it as their home. Some buyers are able to see beyond the obvious, but the vast majority can’t.