doi: 10.1002/anie.202208429.


Online ahead of print.

Affiliations

Item in Clipboard

Elaine Perignat et al.


Angew Chem Int Ed Engl.


.

Abstract

Scientific research is an open-ended quest where success usually triumphs over failure. The tremendous success of science obscures the tendency for the non-linear discovery process to take longer and cost more than expected. Perseverance through detours and past setbacks requires a significant commitment that is fueled by scientific optimism; the same optimism required to overcome challenges simultaneously exacerbates the very human tendency to continue a line of inquiry when the likelihood of success is minimal, the so-called sunk-cost bias. This Viewpoint Article shows how the psychological phenomenon of sunk-cost bias influences medicinal, pharmaceutical, and organic chemists by comparing how the respective industrial and Academic practitioners approach sunk-cost bias; a series of interviews and illustrative quotes provide a rich trove of data to address this seldom discussed, yet potentially avoidable research cost. The concluding strategies recommended for mitigating against sunk-cost bias should benefit not only medicinal, pharmaceutical, and organic chemists but a wide array of chemistry practitioners.


Keywords:

decision-making; planning; sunk-cost bias; termination.

References

    1. R. M. Roberts, Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science, 1st edition, Wiley, 1989.

    1. M. Piattelli-Palmarini, Inevitable Illusions. How Mistakes of Reason Rule our Minds, Wiley, 1996.

    1. G. Hon, J. Schickore, F. Steinle, Going Amiss in Experimental Research, Springer, 2009.

    1. G. Holton, The Hastings Center Report 1975, 5, 39-47.

    1. M. A. Sierra, M. C. de la Torre, F. P. Cossío, More Dead Ends and Detours. En Route to Successful Total Synthesis, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2013.



Source link

Sunk-Cost Bias and Knowing When to Terminate a Research Project