Anchoring and Relativity
Very often the decisions we make involve comparisons to some other type of benchmark information. When those standards of comparison change significantly, watch out—our decisions might change as well.
Suppose we get 100 test subjects and randomly split them into two groups. We take one group aside and privately ask each person the following two questions:
a. Is the Columbia River longer or shorter than 1,500 miles?
b. How long do you think the Columbia River is?
With the second group, we privately ask each person:
c. Is the Columbia River longer or shorter than 500 miles?
d. How long do you think the Columbia River is?
I assume very few people know how long the Columbia River is. But giving the first group an anchor ...