eli5: how does anchoring bias work?


ive been searching and watching videos about it but i still can’t understand it

In: 4

Do you mean what it is?

The anchoring bias is a cognitive effect that causes us to consider additional information in our decisions that isn’t relevant to the decision (without noticing it).

The classic example is starting with a random number between 0 and 100 (generated by a wheel or fortune). Then you ask people a percentage question and link it to the random anchor: “do you think the percentage of african countries in the UN is smaller or larger than the random number?”. And then you ask them to give their guess for a percentage. Even though the random number has no influence on geography it influenced the estimation people gave in the second question.

We have a hard time disconnecting our brain from previous information.

More practical that means if we talked about A all day, and then you ask me a question about B I will still have A on my mind and see B through that lense and make potentially wrong decisions by dismissing other parts of B.

If the question is about the why and how of this effect: sorry I can’t help you with that. One theory says the anchor information makes it easier to activate memories that fit the anchor.