Sunk cost bias, effort justification & advance fee fraud

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Sunk cost bias, effort justification & advance fee fraud

Post16 Feb 2013

Social psychologists have noted two hooks that keep individuals involved in activities they either don't believe in, or make them view their experiences as more positive than they actually are. These are "sunk cost bias" and "effort justification". There are, of course, more hooks ...

"Sunk cost bias" - is basically where once you've invested time, money and effort into something, it feels "wasteful" to stop doing so. It's related to the human tendency of "loss aversion", that is a natural dislike of wasting resources.
Sunk cost bias is a mental trap that not only slows down personal and social development but can make people literally waste their whole lives on something.
    "Sunk costs" in business are costs or expenses that are irrecoverable, something that one has already spent and that one will never be able to get back regardless of any future outcomes. Unfortunately, just because one has put oneself out and invested in some group or activity, one sticks at it beyond the point of rational behaviour.

    I think this explains why many people stick with Brahma Kumarism, and why the organization itself keeps continuing, well beyond the point of rationally realising what is going on; the falsehood, the corruption, the manipulation ... the idiocy of some of their claims (... that is "keeps continuing" beyond the simple fact the leaders have no other form of financial income to live off).

    This is also the hook that keeps some people vulnerable and addicted to conmen who promise huge returns from small investments and keep the individuals investing for long periods of time despite receiving no returns.
"Effort justification" - is the human tendency to attribute a greater value (greater than the real or objective value) to an outcome they had to put more effort into acquiring or achieving.

In 'The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group', Aronson, E. & Mills, J. (1959), discovered that ...
... participants who underwent a severe initiation to join a group expressed more liking toward the group than participants who underwent a mild or no initiation.

    The more difficult or embarrassing the initiation into the group was, the more individuals had to increase their perception that they liked the group in order to overcome what they did not like. It's thought that this theory explains the effect "rites of passage" and rituals, like "surrendering ceremonies" in the Brahma Kumaris, have on creating and strengthening group solidarity and loyalty. The effect seems to rooted in creating dissonance within the mind by making the person or believe in things that they really do not or do not like ... that the mind basically cannot cope with and overloads due to some kind of cognitive dissonance.
Like most mental traps, the first and biggest step one can take to overcome them is simply becoming aware of them ... giving them a name and recognising their form.

We need to become aware of simple human tendencies like
    Feeling attached to what we committed to,
    How bigger commitments tend to be harder to let go of,
    How we tend to be overconfident about everything we set ourselves to do paying off ... if we just stick at it,
    How we fear failing and looking foolish by admitting what we invested ourself into was wrong, and
    How the more we invest into something the more we lose sight of how relevant it is in the greater scheme of life.
All tendencies cult manipulators have a second sense for exploiting and create simple repetitive rituals to reinforce.

Probably related to what is written above about sunk cost bias is - "advance fee fraud".
Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

What greater an 'advance fee fraud' could there be than a religion which tells you that you have to surrender all of your mind, body and wealth to it ... in order to receive palaces of gold and diamonds in your next life ... that keeps telling its target victims that these palaces of gold and diamonds will come after an 'End of the World' called "Destruction" which will happen in two to three years?

With the BKs, the "advance fee" is your entire life if you let them ... your time, your money, your family, your property and your entire future.

For many individuals sucked into Brahma Kumarism, especially all the virgin girls in India they use as unpaid servants, there is no way out.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Sunk cost bias, effort justification & advance fee fraud

Post17 Feb 2013

Good summary!

I think I may have said it before myself here but in many more words with less clarity. You have to admit - these jargon terms can be useful!

Re: sunk-cost-bias

A very wealthy famous businessman was once asked in an interview what his secret was over many years and many projects, with many failures among his successes.

His answer - readiness to cut his losses. Too many people are completely ruined by trying to retrieve a lost cause, thinking in terms of what should have been rather than what is objectively presenting itself now, or by trying not lose what has been invested/expected at an earlier time and ending up losing more if not everything, in the hope it''ll all turn out if one keeps grinding on.

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