How to protect against anchoring bias

Anchoring bias is a cognitive bias in which an individual relies too heavily on the first piece of information they receive (the "anchor") when making subsequent decisions and estimates. As a result, people tend to be influenced by the anchor even if it is not relevant or accurate.

An example of anchoring bias is when a person is shopping for a car and the salesperson gives them a quote for a car that is significantly higher than the person's budget. The person may then adjust their expectations and be more willing to pay a higher price for a car than they originally intended, because the first quote served as an anchor that influenced their subsequent decisions.

Another example is when a person is bidding on an item in an auction and the auctioneer starts the bidding at a high price. The person may be more likely to bid higher as a result of the initial high anchor, even if the item is not worth that much.

In both cases, the anchor influences the individual's subsequent decisions and estimates, leading them to make decisions that may not be in their best interest.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from anchoring bias:

  1. Be aware of the influence of the first piece of information: Recognize that the first piece of information you receive may influence your subsequent decisions and estimates.
  2. Consider multiple anchors: Seek out multiple pieces of information, rather than relying on the first piece of information you receive.
  3. Deliberately vary the order of information: Change the order in which you receive information to reduce the influence of the first piece of information.
  4. Seek out diverse perspectives: Encourage dissenting opinions and listen carefully to different points of view. This can help you see the issue from multiple angles and avoid blind spots.
  5. Use quantifiable data: When making predictions or decisions, use data and statistics to support your position. This can help to avoid overgeneralizing or being misled by anecdotal evidence.
  6. Seek feedback: Ask for feedback from others and be open to constructive criticism. This can help you identify areas where you may be anchored and make improvements.

Protecting yourself against this bias means you are more likely to take new and important  information into account when making decisions.