Mindfulness meditation is getting all sorts of good press lately. It’ll cure your wandering attention and keep you from being so easily influenced by others, and new research suggests that it can improve your reaction to the sunk-cost fallacy.
Not familiar with the sunk-cost fallacy? Actually, you’ve probably used it yourself, especially if you play poker: “Man, I’ve already put down a bunch of money to see the flop; if that guy raises, I’ll have to see his bet!” Or maybe you’ve heard it at a business meeting: “We’ve invested millions in the maple syrup-flavoured energy drink; if we stop now, we’ll lose it all!” And you’ve definitely seen it in the NHL: “We’ve spent all this money promoting hockey in Arizona; it’s sure to pay off soon!” Anyway.
A study published in Psychological Science found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation were less likely to give into the sunk cost fallacy. After conducting an online survey of 178 adults and finding that people with a high tendency towards mindful attention awareness were less prone to sunk costs, scientists designed a test involving promoting mindful attention awareness though meditation and making business decisions.
Undergraduates were given a hypothetical scenario, which involved whether or not to discontinue funding development of a stealth airplane due to it becoming obsolete by a rival model. The students who had undergone mindfulness meditation were more likely to resist the sunk costs than students who did not (it was 53% to 29%, respectively).
So, tired of throwing good money after bad? Maybe schedule a little mindfulness mediation; your wallet will thank you.