Anchoring bias (focusing bias) occurs when a person fixates on one or more findings and misses things that may be more important.


Example: The person cannot see the forest for the trees.


Features of anchoring bias:

(1) The person's attention becomes fixated (focused, attached) on one or more findings or pieces of information ("the anchor").

(2) There are other, more important findings present.

(3) The person does not perceive the more important findings because s/he is focusing on other findings.

(4) The person makes decisions based on the anchor, which results in erroneous conclusions.


Bodenhausen et al found that sad people were more susceptible to anchoring bias than happier people.


A person who does not have a clear understanding about a problem is at greater risk for becoming attached to something that turns out to be irrelevant or misleading.


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