Does Action vs. State Orientation Really Matter in The Susceptibility to Sunk Cost Fallacy? A Conceptual Replication Study
Keywords:sunk cost fallacy, cognitive biases, intrapersonal vs. interpersonal, coping strategies
The theory of action versus state orientation suggests that state-oriented people are more susceptible to sunk cost fallacy than action-oriented people because they ruminate about past costs and are reluctant to change their course of actions. However, research on the role of action versus state orientation in sunk cost fallacy is fairly limited. Therefore, the present paper aims to conceptually replicate the seminal study by van Putten et al. (2010) and verify whether action versus state orientation really matters in the susceptibility to sunk cost fallacy. We also examined the role of gender and goal internalization in the susceptibility to sunk cost fallacy. Participants (N = 205) filled an Action Control Scale and solved two sunk cost fallacy tasks in two experimental conditions. In the intrapersonal condition, the sunk costs belonged to a decision-maker. In the intrapersonal condition, an investor was not identical with the decision-maker. Eventually, our study failed to replicate the results of van Putten et al. (2010). Action versus state orientation did not predict the susceptibility to sunk cost fallacy. Moreover, neither gender nor internalization moderated the relationship between action versus state orientation and susceptibility to sunk cost fallacy. We suggest further replications to examine the roles of reluctance to change and rumination in the relationship between action versus state orientation and susceptibility to sunk cost fallacy. Our findings also highlight the importance of high-powered replications that are an essential part of good research practice.