We rely on the first piece of information to make a decision

Simmons, J., Lebœuf, R., Nelson, L. (2010). The effect of accuracy motivation on anchoring and adjustment: Do people adjust from provided anchors?


Background

The first piece of information a person sees is the most important. It creates an anchor or point of reference that we compare each and every decision we make.One of the most impactful biases we encounter in our daily lives, anchoring still prevails even when we are aware of it1, and given incentives to ignore it2.Anchoring is most prevalent in pricing. That first price not only affects what people are willing to pay for other products and services but also how they judge your products. It influences their perception of value.3 Anchoring doesn’t just affect how much we are willing to pay for things, but also how we feel.In one experiment by Strack, Martin and Schwarz asked college student two questions4;      

a. How happy are you?
b. How often are you dating?

When first asked with question A, there was no correlation between the answers. But, when first asked with B, students used their dating life to determine their happiness.

How Might We

  • How might we present information so as not to create unwanted anchors?
  • How might we be aware of how we phrase questions to avoid emotional anchoring?

Use with HEART

  • Monetisation: when using an interface to sell products and services pay close attention to which value people see first. People will use it as an anchor to judge the value of the rest of your products.

Keep reading

Read paper: Sugden, R., Zheng, J., Zizzo, D. Not all anchors are created equal

Watch: The Anchoring Effect - Why Review Scores Matter

References:

  • 1. Wilson, T., Houston, C., Etling, K., & Brekke, N. (1996). A new look at anchoring effects: Basic anchoring and its antecedents. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 125(4), 387-402.
  • 2. Simmons, J., Lebœuf, R., Nelson, L. (2010). The effect of accuracy motivation on anchoring and adjustment: Do people adjust from provided anchors?
  • 3. Ariely, D., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2006). Tom Sawyer and the Construction of Value. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Vol. 60: 1-10.
  • 4. Strack, Martin, and Schwarz (1988). Strack, Fritz, L. L. Martin, and Norbert Schwarz. Priming and Communication: The Social Determinants of Information Use in Judgments of Life-Satisfaction.