Incidental environmental anchors



Three studies examined whether potential anchor values that are incidentally present in the environment can affect a person's numerical estimates. In Study 1, estimates of an athlete's performance were influenced by the number on his jersey. In Study 2, estimates of the proportion of sales in the domestic market were influenced by a product's model number. In Study 3, participants' estimates of how much they would spend at a restaurant were influenced by whether the restaurant was named “Studio 17” or “Studio 97.” These effects were not qualified by participants' expertise in the relevant domain (Study 1) or by their ability to subsequently recall the anchor value (Study 3). These findings document the existence of a new form of “basic anchoring” and suggest that not all basic anchoring effects are as fragile as the existing anchoring literature suggests. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.