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The De-biasing Effect of Incidental Anger on Other-provided Anchors


Heajung Jung, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. E-mail:


The current research investigates the effect of incidental anger on anchoring bias. We hypothesized that feeling angry will make people less influenced by other-provided anchors because of the moving against action tendency associated with anger. That is, individuals in an angry state will be likely to perceive a given anchor as a viable target for their desire to attack and actively seek out anchor-inconsistent information, thereby committing less anchoring bias. To examine our hypothesis, in Study 1, we manipulated emotions using film clips and administered a general knowledge task with other-provided anchors. As predicted, participants in the anger condition showed less anchoring bias to the other-provided anchors than those in the sad or neutral condition. Study 2 replicated the finding with a different emotion manipulation technique and different anchoring questions. More important, consistent with the moving against action tendency explanation, we also found that people in an angry state committed more anchoring bias for self-generated anchors, compared with people in a sad or neutral state. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.