Charlie, Aidan and I take turns to write a column in Lancashire Business View. My latest is about anchoring (something I’ve posted about previously in more detail) and it was published this month:
We all like to think we are good at making rational and informed decisions, but in truth we are susceptible to being influenced in ways we may not notice.
One of the most interesting of these cognitive biases is known as anchoring.
Restaurant menus often use anchoring to make us feel comfortable about spending more money. Very expensive bottles are included on wine lists because they anchor our expectations upwards in terms of what we think we ought to be paying.
In a fascinating social experiment researchers in America placed a sign in a supermarket soup aisle that stated: “Limit 12 per customer.”
They found that customers bought an average of seven cans each, far more than the average of only three cans without the sign. Why were people suddenly buying so much soup? Because people had anchored to a higher number and adjusted their behaviour accordingly.