Article Title

Come On Down: Investigating an Informational Strategy to Debias the Anchoring Heuristic

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When individuals estimate the price of goods or services, irrelevant factors may affect the estimates. For example, irrelevant numbers in individuals’ environments can cause participants to “anchor” to them as a starting point price estimates, such that estimates tend toward the anchor (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974; Chapman & Johnson, 1994). In fact, anchored individuals may pay up to three times as much for a product and buy 32% more products (Ariely, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2003; Wansink, Kent, & Hoch, 1998). Because anchoring affects purchases large and small, this study investigates how to debias, or reduce the negative effects of, the anchoring heuristic. Debiasing strategies are not easily implemented outside the lab where anchoring has the largest real world effects (Strack & Mussweiler, 1997; Chapman & Johnson, 1994; George, Duffy, & Ahuja, 2000).We investigated an easily implemented informational debiasing strategy that would offer little disruption to an individual’s daily routine and investigated whether it could reduce the negative effects of the anchoring heuristic. The strategy had no effect on anchoring, but further investigation with a larger sample size and higher external validity is necessary before discounting the strategy completely.