This is interesting. Apparently, meditating for 15 minutes can reduce susceptibility to the sunk cost bias.
Across two separate experiments, the researchers tested this by giving one group of participants a 15-minute mindfulness meditation induction.
Then they were given a business scenario which was designed to test the sunk cost bias.
In comparison to a control condition, thinking mindfully doubled the number of people who could avoid the sunk cost bias.
In the control condition just over 40% of people were able to resist the bias. This shot up to almost 80% among those who were thinking mindfully.
The researchers achieved similar results in another experiment and then went on to examine exactly how mindfulness is helpful.
In a third experiment they found that mindfulness increases the focus on the present moment, as it should.
A focus on the present in turn reduced negative feelings participants had about the ‘sunk cost’–the time, money and effort that had gone to waste.
This reduction in negative emotion meant participants were much better equipped to resist the bias.
Ironically, I did a search on Less Wrong to see if something like this had been posted before and came across this comment:
Good points. The lack of scientific research discussed is certainly an issue. I did a quick literature sweep before writing this post, but decided not to include that information here.One is a sunk cost fallacy. If you have sunk ten days into it you are less willing to ditch it because fallible humans are often unable to act like good economists and recognize that sunk costs are irrelevant.
At the dhamma.org courses I haven't found that to be the case. The management at the Massachusetts center informed me that a large majority of students never return to take a second course. Perhaps the cost needs to be larger; people may find it difficult to give up the practice (when they have good reason to) if they have done it daily for some length of time.
According to that anecdote, a large majority of students never take a second course in meditation. It might be due to the study above, where meditating itself makes people less likely to engage in sunk cost thinking.