Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Anchors aweigh

Most of the time I’d be absolutely chuffed with 80 visits (well, page impressions) at my “Dwight Towers” site. But over the last four days I had gotten spoilt – on three of the four I’d had well over a hundred visitors. And so I’d reset my expectations thermostat. And 80 didn’t seem like so much. (footnote 1)

This is a classic example of how we “anchor” our expectations. And when people are trying to negotiate/flog you something, they try to use an outrageous anchor to “frame” the interaction so that the “compromise” you finally agree is skewed in their direction.

Footnote 1 : Not that I have a brittle needy ego or anything like that.

See also-
Malcolm Gladwell in “Blink” on black people being unable to haggle down car prices nearly as far as white people (same cars, same dealers, different outcomes).

Dan Ariely on the subject of anchors in his book “Predictably Irrational”

Wikipedia on anchoring (or focal bias)

Brainbiases.com on “The Anchoring Effect

See also recent DT post on “priming” – “The Primed Directive

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2011 by in Cognitive Humility, Error Correction and tagged , .
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