CRITICAL THINKING - Cognitive Biases: Anchoring [HD]

CRITICAL THINKING – Cognitive Biases: Anchoring [HD]

my name is Laurie Santos I teach psychology at Yale University and today I want to talk to you about anchoring this lecture is part of a series on cognitive biases let's do a math problem really quickly and you've got to do it in your head ready first multiply the following numbers 8 times 7 times 6 times 5 times 4 times 3 times 2 times 1 ok that's it what's your guess a thousand two thousand when the psychologist Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky tried this with human subjects subjects on average guessed about 2,250 seems like an okay guess but now let's suppose I gave you a different math problem what if I gave you this one ready one times two times three times four times five times six times seven times eight what's your answer if you're like Kahneman and Tversky subjects your answer might be a bit different here for this question their subjects guessed a lot lower on average they said the answer was about 512 the first amazing thing about these similar mathematical estimates is that people get the answers really really wrong in fact the real answer well for both its 40,320 people are off by an order of magnitude but the second even more amazing thing is that people give different answers to the two problems even though they're just different ways of asking exactly the same question why do we give completely different answers when the same math problem is presented differently the answer lies in how we make estimates when you have lots of time to do a math problem like 8 times 7 times 6 times 5 times 4 times 3 times 2 times 1 you can multiply all of the numbers together and get an exact product but when you have to do the problem quickly you don't really have time to finish so you start with the first numbers you multiply 8 times 7 and get 56 and then you've got to multiply that by 6 and well you're guessing the fun numbers got to be pretty big bigger than 56 like maybe 2,000 or so but when you do the second problem you start with 1 times 2 and well that's only 2 & 2 times 3 is only 6 your answer is going to be pretty small maybe they only like 500 or so this process of guessing based on the first number you see is what's known as anchoring the first number we think of when we do our estimate is the anchor and once we have an anchor in our head well we sort of adjust as needed from there the problem is that our minds are biased not to adjust as much as we need to the anchors are cognitively really strong in the first problem you probably started with 56 and then adjusted to an even bigger number from there and in the second problem you started with 6 and then adjusted from there the problem is that starting at different points leads to different final guesses like real anchors our estimated anchors kind of get a stuck in one spot we often fail to drag the anchor far enough to get to a correct answer comment averse key discovered that this sort of anchoring bias happens all the time even for anchors that are totally arbitrary for example they asked people to spin a wheel with numbers from 1 to 100 and then ask them to estimate what percentage of countries in the United Nations are African people who spun a 10 on the wheel estimated that the number was about 25 percent but people who spun is 65 estimated that the number was 45 percent in another experiment Dan Ariely and his colleagues had people write down the last two digits of their social security number they were then asked whether they would pay that amount in dollars for a nice bottle of wine Ariely and colleagues found that people in the highest quintile of social security numbers would pay three to four times as much for the exact same good just setting up a larger anchor can make a person who would pay eight dollars for the bottle of wine be willing to spend twenty seven dollars instead sadly for us salespeople use anchors against us all the time how many times have you noticed a salesperson or an advertisement anchoring you to a particular price or even to how much of a particular product you should buy whether it's buying a car or a sweater or even renting a hello room our intuitions about what prices are reasonable to pay often come from some arbitrary anchor so the next time you're given an anchor take a minute to think remember what happens when you drop your anchor too high and then consider thinking of a very different number it might affect your final estimate more than you expect

27 thoughts on “CRITICAL THINKING – Cognitive Biases: Anchoring [HD]

  1. Just more of the fact nazi bullshit with their fancy logic crap, again need to keep reminding the libtrads that there is nothing alternative about real facts, when Spanky says something it becomes a DOUBLE PLUS SUPER FACT, true now and for all time! //ss

  2. Reposting my response below here:

    You can restate the “refuse to guess” premise with the philosophical principle of not attempting to evaluate the arbitrary. When someone asserts an arbitrary premise you dismiss it unless they give a justification for their premise. Proof is a epistemically positive process.

  3. Stores do it all the time, offering three price/value/quality levels of similar products. We've allowed them to set the hi and low limits of said item, knowing that most will select the median priced product tricking us into thinking we've made a prudent decision even tho it was overpriced to begin with.

  4. Does anchoring only apply to math problems – what about people having a non-mathematical concept in their minds which then acts as an anchor? For example some people have the "alien spacecraft" anchor in their minds – when therefore they see a video of a bright light behaving unusually they use that anchor to interpret the light as an alien craft.

  5. there's this LCGC in my country, practically a city car "Low Cost Green Car", that were sell out like crazy even when the prices were pretty close to what usually family car would be priced. and what does a LCGC are actually an air-conditioned cabin with wheels on it to ride on. no safety measures, fragile materials and boring features: total rip off from an anchored pricing estimates.

  6. I wonder if people higher in trait openness are less susceptible to anchoring. Ooh, what about agreeableness? Could actually test that.

  7. Ah you got me, when you first presented the problem I knew it was a trick question so I started doing some math in reverse from 1 towards 8.

    And thought exactly 512 or maybe 502 not sure anymore.

    But this question had a double twist .

  8. if we can control our urge to guess we can fix the anchor problem… simply refuse to guess… find the answer.

  9. Great content, but the audio has a harsh quality to it. Like maybe there's too much noise or data compression? Anybody know what it is?

  10. Being a lazy sod, I grouped the numbers, and rounded to make them easy to multiply. (2×5) x (7*3) * (4*6) * 8 is about 10 x 20 x 25 x 8 is about 200 x 200 is about 40000.

    I do get what you mean by anchoring, though. Every mattress store in my town is having a continuous 70% off clearance sale.

  11. i don't really hear voices they affect me telepathically or message wise — my thing i can not get the past outta my head like i feel my step mothers relative r sitting in a switch board and control my mind i don't really hear what they say but nonetheless their messages r clear they usually humiliate laugh at me it is like a security camera in my head controlling my thoughts also when i am on the street i feel i am brain wired to every one else and that others r thinking about me controlling me and hate me every body is in my head i can not get them at at night i feel ego shattered like even walking down a street even some one looking at me coldly this leaves me crushed and shattered –i misunderstand and misjudge every thing and can never decode or process information or behavior same with language i –also i don't know who i am like i feel i don't exit i am an ego conscious version of my step mothers relatives i feel i have died and now i am just a hologram i don't feel real or alive i feel i am divided my identity compromised of many many people when i look at a thing i feel those people in my head r looking at this thing with me–i wonder the person talking to me can see those guys in my head most the time i think they do i feel they have a packt to fuck me up i feel the whole universe and god hates me i feel so evil worthless and bad worthy of death i feel i am a worthless bug not human at all –am i schizophrenic ???

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