Mindfulness and Economic Decision-Making: The role of attention and presence

Last registered on August 06, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Mindfulness and Economic Decision-Making: The role of attention and presence
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004812
Initial registration date
October 02, 2019
Last updated
August 06, 2020, 9:31 AM EDT

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2019-10-11
End date
2020-05-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
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

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

Interventions

Intervention(s)
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
2019-10-11
Intervention End Date
2020-03-13

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
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

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

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2018-12-20
IRB Approval Number
HSS 40/18-19

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
November 01, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
November 01, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
5
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
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?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials