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Bias: Anchoring Bias

This guide is designed to help students identify bias in the sources they are using for research.

Anchoring Bias Defined

Anchoring Bias is the tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor", on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information acquired on that subject).


Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been told there will be a 30 minute wait? If the hostess seats you after only waiting 25 minutes, you are usually happy. You were able to get seated 5 minutes faster, than you originally anticipated.

Now what if the original wait time you were told was 15 minutes and it still took 25 minutes for you to be seated? You are no longer happy. In both instances it took 25 minutes to be seated, however your initial time or (anchor bias) differed therefore producing different reactions.

Anchoring Bias Explained