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, 12 (5), 391-6

Putting Adjustment Back in the Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic: Differential Processing of Self-Generated and Experimenter-Provided Anchors

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Putting Adjustment Back in the Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic: Differential Processing of Self-Generated and Experimenter-Provided Anchors

N Epley et al. Psychol Sci.

Abstract

People's estimates of uncertain quantities are commonly influenced by irrelevant values. These anchoring effects were originally explained as insufficient adjustment away from an initial anchor value. The existing literature provides little support for the postulated process of adjustment, however, and a consensus that none takes place seems to be emerging. We argue that this conclusion is premature, and we present evidence that insufficient adjustment produces anchoring effects when the anchors are self-generated. In Study 1, participants' verbal reports made reference to adjustment only, from self-generated anchors. In Studies 2 and 3, participants induced to accept values by nodding their heads gave answers that were closer to an anchor (i.e., they adjusted less) than participants induced to deny values by shaking their heads--again, only when the anchor was self-generated. These results suggest it is time to reintroduce anchoring and adjustment as an explanation for some judgments under uncertainty.

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