The mechanism of non-numerical anchoring heuristic based on magnitude priming: is it just the basic anchoring effect in disguise?

Paweł Tomczak , Jakub Traczyk


The anchoring heuristic refers to phenomena when an arbitrary number affects subsequent numerical estimations. Oppenheimer, LeBoeuf and Brewer (2008) showed that it is not necessary for the anchor to be a numerical value (i.e., the act of drawing lines of different length effectively shifts numerical estimations), yet current models describing the anchoring heuristic do not fully account for the mechanism of non-numerical anchoring. However, this effect shows similarity to the basic anchoring effect – obtained without the comparative question and based on the availability of the given number in working memory. In this study, we attempt to verify whether those two effect share the same psychological mechanism. In Experiment 1, we show that non-numerical anchoring based on magnitude priming cannot be obtained when the lines are just observed. The examined mechanism proves to be dependent on the act of drawing, displaying limitations similar to the basic anchoring effect, previously pointed out by Brewer and Chapman (2002). By using the same numerical anchors in different size formats, in Experiment 2 we showed that anchoring based on magnitude priming occurs even when the numerical values do not affect the estimations. The results are discussed in the light of a possible mechanism that underlies the investigated effect.
Author Paweł Tomczak (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Paweł Tomczak,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Jakub Traczyk (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Traczyk,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
Journal seriesPolish Psychological Bulletin, ISSN 0079-2993, e-ISSN 1641-7844, (B 15 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishanchoring effect; magnitude priming; non-numerical anchoring; estimations
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
41. Tomczak, Traczyk - 2017 PPB.pdf 774.64 KB
Additional file
41. Traczyk Oświadczenie.pdf 182.55 KB
The mechanism_Tomczak_oświadczenie.pdf 27.93 KB
Score (nominal)15
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 0.232
Citation count*7 (2020-12-01)
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