The anchoring-and-adjustment bias: adjusting subsequent information in accordance with a so-called anchor


The anchoring-and-adjustment error occurs when a person adjusts subsequent information in accordance with a so-called anchor: a specific, not necessarily relevant, piece of information, typically the first one one was presented with (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). The anchoring usually results in estimates that are inaccurate since they are not updated when new information is received but rather remain close to the anchor. For example, an initial price set for a particular item acts as a standard and all subsequent offers are evaluated with respect to the original price. The anchors come from various sources from ourselves, from other people, both competent and non-competent, from the media and their effects are very strong and persistent. Anchoring remains present even in cases when participants are informed of it (Wilson, Houston, Etling, & Brekkeand, 1996) and it has been found in experts as well (Northcraft & Neal, 1987).

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