The effect of depth of processing and delay on the anchoring effect
Izbiky, Alexander Jacob
Killingsworth, Blake William
May 17, 2020
Research indicates that the anchoring effect can be a powerful influencer of how people make judgments about data. Anchoring is the phenomenon by which prior exposure to a value affects future estimates by "anchoring” individuals’ estimates to the originally presented value. The anchoring effect is powerful by itself, but is also moderated by other variables. While many moderators have been studied, two novel possibilities are levels of processing and delay. Cognitive psychologists generally agree that deeper processing and shorter delays have positive effects on memory performance relative to shallow processing and longer delays. This study manipulated levels of processing and delay to see how they influenced anchoring. Participants were presented with data on the melting of six glaciers which had been manipulated to generate low or high anchors. Half of the participants were presented with a mean anchor value while the other half obtained the value through a calculation. After considering the data, half of the participants were immediately asked if they would have predicted a higher or lower value, as well as what that predicted value would have been. The other half predicted the value after a three-minute filled delay. Consistent with our hypotheses, a significant anchoring effect was observed. While the data patterns for depth, delay, and the interaction were consistent with our hypotheses and the attitude change model, the results were not statistically significant. Despite this, the present study advances the literature on ecologically applied anchoring research and provides meaningful implications for the impact of data in our everyday lives.
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