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Mindfulness and Economic Decision-Making: The role of attention and presence
Last registered on August 06, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Mindfulness and Economic Decision-Making: The role of attention and presence
Initial registration date
October 02, 2019
Last updated
August 06, 2020 9:31 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Warwick
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We develop an experiment designed to shed light on the role of meditation in influencing the role of two behavioural biases often studied in economics: heuristic biases and self-control problems. For newcomers to meditation, we conjecture that it may influence these two types of bias through its effects on attention and presence. Our RCT design makes use of one treatment that targets these dimensions and one active control (sessions devoted to general stress-management) to analyse the effects of meditation on these two domains of decision-making (measured using experimental methods on an online platform).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Sgroi, Daniel. 2020. "Mindfulness and Economic Decision-Making: The role of attention and presence." AEA RCT Registry. August 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4812-2.0.
Experimental Details
We will recruit from students, advertising courses for stress reduction. Some will be randmoized to sessions that focus on mindfulness (with meditations designed to promote attention and presence), others to sessions that focus on more general stress-reduction methods. They will all also undertake tasks on an online platform to allow us to measure the key outcome variables and various useful controls.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Time preference, redistribution, loss aversion, regret aversion, system 1 bias, sunk-cost bias
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Time preference: preferred amount in 2 weeks compared to today, and in 7 weeks compared to 5 weeks
Redistribution: Chosen distribution of tax burden among different income percentiles
Loss aversion: Number of people who prefer lottery with positive but small expected value to 0
Regret aversion: Number of people who choose to keep lottery ticket when strictly dominant to switch to a new ticket
System 1 bias: Number of correct answers to a set of heuristic bias questions; difference in responses to framing and anchoring; cognitive reflection test
Sunk-cost bias: Number of people who choose to stick with dominated asset (which effort had been sunk to attain)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Motivation(cost) of effort, Risk preference, Trait mindfulness
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Motivation(cost) of effort: Number of points gained in real effort task
Risk preference: response to the DOSPERT scale (Blais, A. R., & Weber, E. U. (2006). A domain-specific risk-taking (DOSPERT) scale for adult populations.)
State mindfulness: response to FFMQ scale (Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27-45.)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Subjects are randomized into the mindfulness (treatment) and stress-reduction (control) sessions. They receive 4 sessions covering attention and presence meditations linked to mindfulness (treatment) or general stress-reduction (control) as well as tests administered online before and after the treatment/control sessions that are designed to measure the various primary and secondary outcomes.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
480 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
480 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
240 individuals in active control, 240 individuals in treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Using the results of the Probabilistic Reasoning subset (main reference for the system 1 bias questions) in Stanovich, West and Toplak (2016) as the outcome of control group (mean 11.2, SD 3.6), with power = 0.8, alpha=0.05 (adjusting for multiple testing), MDE is 1.1478 (=a 10.25% increase) Stanovich, K. E., West, R. F., & Toplak, M. E. (2016). The rationality quotient: Toward a test of rational thinking. MIT Press.
IRB Name
Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
HSS 40/18-19
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
November 01, 2019, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
November 01, 2019, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
5 students
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
1 student in the mindfulness stress-management course, 4 students in the general stress-management course
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)