Your Money or Your Self-Esteem: Threatened Egotism Promotes Costly Entrapment in Losing Endeavors
- Liqing Zhang Carnegie Mellon University
- Roy F. Baumeister Florida State University
The present research explored egotism—maintaining favorable views of the self—as a motivation underlying entrapment in losing endeavors. Four studies suggested that threatened selfesteem would cause decision makers to invest and lose more money in a previously chosen course of action. Ego-threatened participants consistently lost more money than nonthreatened participants across diverse entrapping situations regardless of whether the outcome was ostensibly determined by luck (Experiments 1 and 4), ability (Experiment 2), or interpersonal competition (Experiment 3). Thus, pursuing favorable views of the self could be costly to decision makers’ financial well-being and may produce self-defeating behaviors.