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Let me choose my incentives: A mindfulness intervention
Last registered on November 03, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Let me choose my incentives: A mindfulness intervention
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004881
Initial registration date
October 27, 2019
Last updated
November 03, 2019 7:00 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Amsterdam
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
University of Amsterdam
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
University of Munich
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-10-28
End date
2020-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We implement a behavioral intervention intended to promote the take-up and maintenance of a mindfulness meditation habit. Over a period of 36 days, participants can complete daily online meditation sessions and receive monetary incentives to do so.
We compare a control group (where subjects receive access to the meditation sessions but no monetary incentives to complete them) to two incentive treatments where subjects receive monetary compensations. In one treatment, subjects are assigned one of two reward schemes: the first is based on a constant payment for each completed session; the second rewards subjects (comparatively more) for completing sessions in 3-days streaks. The second incentive treatment is identical to the first, except subjects are allowed to choose the scheme that they prefer between the two described above.
We explore the following questions: (1) Can mindfulness meditation habits be created and sustained by behavioral interventions similarly to other more commonly studied habits (such as gym attendance)?; (2) How does the dynamic incentive scheme compare to the constant incentive scheme?; (3) Does letting participants choose their own incentives increase engagement and completion rates?
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Bartmann, Nina et al. 2019. "Let me choose my incentives: A mindfulness intervention ." AEA RCT Registry. November 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4881-1.1.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We test the effect of two monetary incentive schemes intended to support the take-up and maintenance of an online mindfulness meditation program. The program, inclusive of incentives, lasts for 36 days and is based on daily meditation sessions which last between 5 and 15 minutes. Subsequently, participants continue to have access to meditation sessions for two additional months but receive no additional payment.
Subjects have access to two types of incentive schemes: (i) Constant scheme, where they receive 2 euro for each complete meditation session; and (ii) Dynamic scheme, where subjects receive 8 euro for each sequence of three completed meditation sessions (3 days in a raw).
Subjects are randomized into 3 treatments: (1) control, (2) exogenous incentives, where one of the two incentive schemes is randomly assigned; and (3) endogenous incentives, where subjects can choose, between the two incentive schemes, the one that they prefer.

Intervention Start Date
2019-11-04
Intervention End Date
2020-04-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
• Number of completed meditation sessions during the intervention period.
• Indicator variables for assigned treatments (1: Control, 2: Exogenous incentives, 3: Endogenous incentives).
• Indicator variables for incentive schemes (1: Static; 2: Dynamic).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
• Standardized self-reported mindfulness level. We will measure mindfulness level at baseline and end-line with the “Mindfulness attention awareness scale” (Brown, K.W. & Ryan, R.M., 2003); and in particular the Dutch version by Schroevers, M., Nykliček, I., & Topman, R., 2008].

• Standardized self-reported stress levels. We will measure stress levels at baseline and end-line with the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R., 1983).

• Standardized meditation motivation measure at baseline. Elicited with six questions extracted from the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory scale (Ryan, R. M., 1982).
• Past meditation frequency at baseline. Self-reported typical number of meditation sessions per week, on a typical week prior to the study.
• Meditation goals at baseline. Desired number of meditation sessions per week for the near future (before knowing about incentives).

• Standardized desirability of control measure at baseline. Elicited with six questions extracted from the Desirability of Control Scale by Burger and Cooper (1979).

• Risk aversion measure (Gneezy and Potters, 1997).

• Beliefs at baseline about future completed meditation sessions, given assigned treatment. Participants in the endogenous treatment answer the belief questions both for the incentive scheme they choose and did not choose. Subjects are asked to guess how many meditation sessions they think they will complete during the study period. Incentivization: Subjects receive 1 euro if their guess is correct.

• Standardized academic self-concept measured at baseline and endline. Elicited with six questions extracted from the Academic self-concept scale (REF) by Reynolds (1988).

• Standardized self-esteem measured at baseline and endline with the “Self-Esteem Scale” by Rosenberg (1965), and in particular the Dutch version by Franck et al. (2008).

• Time preferences measure elicited at endline.

• Past meditation frequency and future meditation goals elicited at baseline.

• Completed meditation sessions in the 2 months following the end of the intervention.

• Demographic questions (age, gender, study program).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We test the effect of two monetary incentive schemes intended to support the take-up and retention of an online mindfulness meditation program. The program, inclusive of incentives, lasts for 5 weeks and is based on daily meditation sessions which last between 5 and 15 minutes. Subsequently, participants continue to have access to meditation sessions for two additional months but receive no additional payment.
Subjects have access to two types of incentive schemes: (i) Constant scheme, where they receive 2 euro for each complete meditation session; and (ii) Dynamic scheme, where subjects receive 8 euro for each sequence of three complete meditation sessions.
Subjects are randomized into 3 treatments: (1) control, (2) exogenous incentives, where one of the two incentive schemes is randomly assigned; and (3) endogenous incentives, where subjects can choose, between the two incentive schemes, the one that they prefer.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer software (Qualtrics).
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
no clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
about 480 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We will have about 160 participants per treatment.
Subjects in the exogenous treatment are further randomized into the dynamic scheme (60%) and the static scheme (40%). The percentages are chosen to match the distribution of subjects in the endogenous treatment from pilot data collected prior to the intervention.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee Economics and Business (EBEC) University of Amsterdam
IRB Approval Date
2019-05-20
IRB Approval Number
20190517060546
Analysis Plan

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