Escalation of commitment refers to the tendency to persist with or even intensify losing courses of action. In this study, we examined whether authentic and contrived dissent reduces escalation in group decision making. Participants first individually indicated their preference on how to allocate money between two alternatives. Based on these individual preferences, homogeneous and heterogeneous three-person groups were formed. In addition, group discussion was either structured by assigning one group member to play the role of a devil's advocate or was not structured. Results revealed that escalation tendencies over multiple decisions were reduced in heterogeneous groups that used the devil's advocacy procedure. The rationality of this behavior is discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.