Peter McCluskey (peter_bayesian) wrote,
Peter McCluskey

Switching brands helps break endowment effect?

For a long time I watched CNBC intermittently while the stock market was open, while being mildly concerned that news selected to appeal to a large audience was causing me to pay too much attention to useless ideas. Those concerns were partly influenced by an experiment done by Andreassen where subjects trading stocks did worse if they saw a constant stream of news than if they saw no news once they started trading. These inconclusive thoughts left me continuing to follow my rather ingrained habits.

Last year my cable company added a Bloomberg channel. Bloomberg appears to be slightly better than CNBC, so I switched to watching Bloomberg.

Then I stopped watching them. I can't identify any new thoughts which caused me to stop watching, so it's hard to avoid the conclusion that I acted irrationally at some point. The best explanation I can come up with is that as long as I was following a fixed routine, the mental effort needed to abandon the routine prevented me from changing. Switching to Bloomberg was much easier because it didn't seem like much of a change, and didn't require admitting that I'd been making a mistake. But since I hadn't developed an attachment to Bloomberg, it was easier to stop watching it.

I've since given up cable/broadcast TV entirely, and use Netflix and Comedy Central's website as replacements. I'm quite satisfied with the change.

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