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Allison Teta

Teta, Allison. (2011, May). How much loss is too much loss? The effect of temporal separation on sunk coast attenuation in investment scenarios.
Mentor: Dr. Richard Platt

Abstract

Research suggests that individuals tend to take past unrecoverable costs into account when making decisions (Arkes and Blumer 1985; Thaler 1980). Mental accounting theory argues that people mentally track costs and benefits to maximize the net benefits received. Previous research has shown that when costs and benefits are temporally separated over time, sunk costs become attenuated in the mental account, having less of an effect on decision-making (Gourville and Soman, 1998). The current study attempts to apply mental accounting theory about sunk cost depreciation to investment scenarios. Study one attempts to replicate previous findings on temporal separation. Studies two, three, and four seek to apply decoupling theory to investment scenarios. Finally, study five looks at decision satisfaction and post-decision mental accounting.


Read the paper (download the pdf)