When knowledge matters—differential effects of available knowledge in standard and basic anchoring tasks



The present research examines whether anchoring effects—the assimilation of a numeric estimate towards a previously considered standard—depend on judges' available knowledge in the target domain. Based on previous research, I distinguish two types of anchoring effects. Standard anchoring is obtained if judges are explicitly asked to compare the anchor to the target. Basic anchoring results if the accessibility of the anchor is increased prior to judgments about the target. I expected that only basic but not standard anchoring is reduced by providing judges with judgment-relevant knowledge. Using a standard versus basic anchoring paradigm, 112 participants were confronted with a high versus low anchor before estimating the average price of a German midsize car. Prior to this task, participants were provided with information about prices of cars (relevant knowledge) versus kitchens (irrelevant knowledge). Results demonstrate that this knowledge only influenced the magnitude of basic but not standard anchoring effects. This finding demonstrates that knowledge has differential effects in different types of anchoring. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.