By Allan I. Teger
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Extra resources for Too Much Invested to Quit
The instructions read as follows: This is an experiment in decision making. The experiment involves making bids in a kind of auction task. Just like a real auction, the winner - the person with the highest bid - will get the prize. The bidding in this auction is for a prize of 500 points. Whoever has the highest bid at the end of the auction will get the 500 point prize. Each point is worth real money. Therefore, the more points you have at the end of the experiment, the more money you will make.
It would appear, therefore, that investing more than the value of the prize had real meaning for most of the subjects, but what it meant, or what implications it might have for future behavior was different for each person. Some would increase their rate of escalation while others would decrease it. For some, those changes would remain for the rest of the auction, and for others, the bidding rate would return to the original level after a few bids. A second analysis focused on the time which the subjects required to make their decisions.
00 mark, they showed discomfort and anxiety. There was no problem with realism. 00 if they had not bid at a l l . They definitely had f e l t that they had lost real money. Although an occasional subject became mildly suspicious, postexperimental interviews gave us confidence that, for the vast majority of subjects, none of the various payment schemes affected the realism of the auction. The issue of giving subjects money with which to make their bids also brings up the larger question of subjects' expectations and experimental demands.