Initiating Salary Discussions With an Extreme Request: Anchoring Effects on Initial Salary Offers


  • Portions of this research were previously presented at the 23rd annual convention of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Francisco, CA, April 2008. The author thanks Catherine Hamilton and Scott Withrow for their assistance with these studies.

Todd J. Thorsteinson, Department of Psychology and Communication Studies, P.O. Box 443043, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-3043. E-mail:


Two studies were conducted to examine the effects of implausible anchors on initial salary offers. Participants provided a salary offer to a candidate after receiving a relevant anchor and an implausible anchor. The results of Study 1 indicated that a high implausible anchor influenced salary offers, even in the presence of the relevant anchor. Study 2 examined whether a more extreme implausible anchor would also affect salary offers. The results indicated that both the high anchor and the extremely high anchor led to higher salary offers than did the control condition.