How Multiple Anchors Affect Judgment: Evidence From the Lab and Ebay

Yan Zhang, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Ye Li, Columbia University, USA
Ting Zhu, University of Chicago, USA
This research examines how multiple anchors differ from single anchors in their effect on numerical judgments. We propose that the presence of multiple anchors increases the salience of anchor plausibility and thus decreases the impact of implausible anchors. In the single anchor case, extremely low anchors lead to lower estimates than less extreme ones because people may find it more difficult or may be less likely to evaluate a single anchor's plausibility. We suggest that the reverse is true when a second moderate anchor is added: extremely low anchors paired with the moderate anchor lead to higher estimates than less extreme low anchors paired with the same moderate anchor. We demonstrate this effect and find evidence for the plausibility mechanism in two controlled experiments. We also find corroborating evidence in a natural cross-country experiment using archival data from Buy-It-Now auctions on eBay.
[ to cite ]:
Yan Zhang, Ye Li, and Ting Zhu (2010) ,"How Multiple Anchors Affect Judgment: Evidence From the Lab and Ebay", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 492-493 .