Anchoring Bias

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Description of Anchoring Bias. Explanation.




Definition Anchoring Bias. Description.

Anchoring even works when the first information given is clearly wrong...Anchoring Bias is the human tendency to rely too heavily on information, especially the first piece of information that is available (treated as an "anchor), when making subsequent judgments and decisions. It is also called Focalism.

During decision making. individuals anchor and overly rely on specific information or a specific value and then adjust to that value to account for other elements of the circumstance. Usually once the anchor is set, there is a bias toward that value.


Anchoring was pioneered by by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.



Anchoring in Psychology

In psychology, anchoring and adjustment is seen as a psychological heuristic that influences how people intuitively assess probabilities. According to this heuristic, people start with an implicitly suggested reference point (the "anchor") and make adjustments to it to reach their estimate. A person begins with a first approximation (anchor) and then makes incremental adjustments based on additional information. These adjustments are usually insufficient, giving the initial anchor a great deal of influence over future assessments.


This form of Cognitive Bias is particularly relevant for strategists, management consultants and decision makers in general.

Compare with: Agenda Setting Theory  |  Confirmation Bias  |  Status Quo Bias

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