Debiasing the Mind Through Meditation
Mindfulness and the Sunk-Cost Bias
- 1Department of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD
- 2Management Department, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
- Andrew C. Hafenbrack, Department of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD, 1 Ayer Rajah Ave., Singapore 138676, Singapore E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract from The Harvard Business Review: A Little Meditating Helps You Make Better Business Decisions
Research participants who had spent just 15 minutes in “mindfulness” meditation, focusing on their breathing, were 77% more likely than others to resist what’s known as the “sunk-cost bias,” the tendency to stick with a less-than-optimal strategy merely because a lot of money has been sunk into it, says a team led by Andrew C. Hafenbrack of Insead business school in France. In a fictional scenario, the participants had to decide whether to buy a highly efficient $10,000 machine shortly after spending $200,000 on equipment that was much less efficient (and couldn’t be sold). Meditation’s impact on the sunk-cost bias may have to do with its ability to improve mood and decrease people’s focus on the future and past, the researchers suggest.