Friday, January 24, 2014

Can Meditation Reduce the Sunk Cost Bias?

The sunk cost bias is the tendency to "throw good money after bad" in situations where you have made a substantial commitment of resources that you cannot recover.   Over the years, many studies have documented this decision trap and shown that many of us are vulnerable to this bias.  Now, a new research study shows that meditation may actually mitigate the bias.    

Andrew Hafenbrack and his colleagues have shown that 15 minutes of "mindfulness meditation" can actually reduce people's tendency to fall into the sunk cost trap.  According to the BPS Research Digest, "Mindfulness meditation is all about learning to stay in the moment, and the researchers think it probably helps reduce the sunk-cost bias because the error is partly caused by memories of prior investments, and also by anticipation of regret in the future if a project or prior purchase is abandoned." 

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