Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Debiasing the Mind through Meditation: Mindfulness and the Sunk Cost Bias

Access the publisher's website
Psychological Science 25, 2 (2014) 369-376

This research investigates the debiasing effect of mindfulness meditation on the sunk cost bias. Four studies, one correlational and three experimental, suggest that increased mindfulness reduces the tendency to allow unrecoverable prior costs to influence current decisions. Study 1 served as an initial correlational demonstration of the positive relationship between trait mindfulness and resistance to the sunk cost bias. Studies 2a and 2b were laboratory experiments examining the effect of a state mindfulness meditation induction on increased resistance to the sunk cost bias. Study 3 experimentally examined the mediating mechanisms of temporal focus and negative affect, finding that the sunk cost bias is attenuated by drawing one’s temporal focus away from the future and past and reducing state negative affect, both of which were accomplished through mindfulness meditation.