ERIC Number: EJ781376
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Anchors Aweigh: A Demonstration of Cross-Modality Anchoring and Magnitude Priming
Oppenheimer, Daniel M.; LeBoeuf, Robyn A.; Brewer, Noel T.
Cognition, v106 n1 p13-26 Jan 2008
Research has shown that judgments tend to assimilate to irrelevant "anchors." We extend anchoring effects to show that anchors can even operate across modalities by, apparently, priming a general sense of magnitude that is not moored to any unit or scale. An initial study showed that participants drawing long "anchor" lines made higher numerical estimates of target lengths than did those drawing shorter lines. We then replicated this finding, showing that a similar pattern was obtained even when the target estimates were not in the dimension of length. A third study showed that an anchor's length relative to its context, and not its absolute length, is the key to predicting the anchor's impact on judgments. A final study demonstrated that magnitude priming (priming a sense of largeness or smallness) is a plausible mechanism underlying the reported effects. We conclude that the boundary conditions of anchoring effects may be much looser than previously thought, with anchors operating across modalities and dimensions to bias judgment.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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