Data Hazard: Irrelevant Information Contaminates Judgment

Research shows the lasting effect of numerical anchors on valuation judgments.

Alain Samson Ph.D.

Imagine I asked you whether the number of steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower is more or less than 250 and then asked you to give me your estimate of the actual number. Your estimate would probably be higher if I first asked you whether that number is more or less than 5,000.

The Eiffel Tower example (which has 1,710 steps, by the way) illustrates the anchoring effect, one of the most important phenomena studied by researchers in the area of judgment and decision making. It occurs when exposure to a (often arbitrary) number serves as an unconscious reference point that influences subsequent judgments.

Anchoring is frequently studied in relation to value estimates. One experiment asked participants to write down the last three digits of their phone number multiplied by one thousand (e.g. 678 = 678,000). Results showed that people’s subsequent estimate of local house prices were significantly influenced by the arbitrary anchor, even though they were given a 10-minute presentation on facts and figures from the housing market at the beginning of the study.

Experiments in the area of judgment and decision making usually have one limitation: It is unclear whether the anchoring effect persists beyond the duration of the experiment.

New research by Sangsuk Yoon and Nathan Fong investigates what happens to the anchoring effect over time.

In their experiments, the researchers asked participants to draw a single card from a deck with numbers ranging from 0 to 99 (the anchor). Participants later had to indicate how much they were willing to pay for different goods, such as a bluetooth keyboard or an art book. Willingness to pay was measured in the initial session, then again after different time intervals.

Results of one study showed that the anchoring effect dropped after a one-week delay, but the effect was still statistically significant and remained stable for a duration of four to eight weeks. (A separate experiment found that neither participants’ motivation to give consistent answers over time nor their memory of the initial anchor could account for the persistence of the effect.) Even after eight weeks, a one-unit increase in the anchor (the 0 to 99 number on the card) still caused a 14 cent increase in willingness to pay, on average.

This research suggests that an arbitrary anchor does not just distort the scale that people apply to their value judgments; they don’t just temporarily “think bigger” or “think smaller” than they would without the anchor. The information also leaves a long-lasting imprint that isn’t easily corrected. Anchors essentially contaminate your judgment. That’s why anchoring may well be one of the stickiest traps decision makers can fall into—and a powerful tool that others can use to manipulate your decisions.

One thought on “Data Hazard: Irrelevant Information Contaminates Judgment

  • May 2, 2019 at 5:39 am
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    Does Data matter to lazy intellects? How does a Miseducated intellect analyze without “Igorance Interference”! African Proverb- Convince a Fool against his will and still…?
    Take the Zulu Black Face issue- NO!A Zulu defends a caricature with saying, “It’s not Black Face, it’s Make- up”! Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli…-
    To Wit?

    LBRC- No polite way to say this aka Really Keeping it Real! Want to know how “Uneducated” and Dumb your so- called Negro Leaders are? Negroes only believe ‘Massa (Willie Lynch) the only real expert! Here’s how ‘Massa defines “Fascism” aka “Racism”. Let’s start here Imhotep:

    Definition of Fascism by Merriam-Webster/https://www.merriam-webster.com › fasci…

    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often “race” above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition./end/

    1. 2019 Slavery 2.0 is here! Visit any American City. What do you see? btw- Negroes possess less than 1/2 of 1% of total U.S. Wealth! Not pitiful enough?

    2. Any city, what are masses of Negroes doing dusk to dawn, even where so- called Negro Mayors are and other elected officials. What do you see?

    a. Young and old Negroes are standing on corners, outside of Mall Strips and doing what? Ans. Drinking polluted cheap liquor, pontificating ignorance, harassing others, begging and taunting women/men and yada…

    b. What about education and schools? At one time, Negro teachers taught covertly, it was illegal to educate a Negro! Curriculums in 2019 are assault, rape, stupidity, disrespect and yada…, certain Select Schools have resources and “Hommy don’t play ‘Dat! In 2019, the dominant culture controls Negro School Boards, finances and “Jobs”! Caucasian ‘Hommy don’t play ‘Dat! Negro “Overseers” see to it! These Negroes tell simpleton parents aka ‘Simps, Grade F = A. However, how do young Negroes test where and when it matters aka job or Trade “Certifications” and/or “Careers”? What about a contemporary “Common Millennial” miseducated in 2019? What do numbers say when young Negroes in cities avg. at least “40% Unemployment” and “Single” women run at least 47% of households with ‘Massa ‘Guv’s assistance! 

    3. Where are the Negro Men?

    a. 2/3 are illiterate and can’t up a pittance $500 to address any emergency! 

    b. Find a typical urban city corner. Old and young Negroes are sitting and standing on corners “Shucking and Jiving”, begging and being totally unproductive! But what about all their kids and whose feeding them? ‘Pappa and ‘Grandpa “Guv” not only feed, but house aka EBT, Sect. 8 and yada…! The Data? Nearly 2/3 of all Negroes in the U.S. have a Net Worth along Poverty Sectors! These Negroes are ‘Stuntin, ‘Gruntun  and ‘Frontun! For Lagniappe, complaint daily!

    4. Most Negro U.S. Citizens are De Facto Slaves, even corporate! “Slavery” was 100% Negro Employment? However, never forget not all Negroes during slavery were overt ones! Here’s nuance again! 1st a question- Who fights on the side of an enemy in order to enslave themselves and their families? What different in 2019? Filthy Demonic Spirits and Simpleton Dim witted Negro Traitors to The Most High! Satan wanted to be a (g)od and refused to bow to the 1st Man (Black according to legitimate Science). 

    “What’s different in 2019 and What does White Supremacy refuses to do and even refused to do during The Obama Administration”? NEOCON Republican Leadership promised to do everything in their power to see to it ‘Dat Obama failed! And guess what, Obama was hardly a Pro Black President! Disclaimer: Negroes benefited from an Obama Presidency in terms of simply having a Black “Family” in the White House no matter what a trained Negro Self Hater says! Next time one critiques Obama, ask how much they contributed to his campaign? Coons can’t wait to disrespect another Negro. Only one Negro President, yet Negroes work and worked Caucasian campaigns Gratis without complaints. And what is the fruit of their slave labor for Caucasians? Let’s just say, the Median Net Worth of a Negro in Boston is $8 and nationally? Over 2/3 of Black Kids live in poverty and nearly every Negro you see and know has a lifetime Net Worth below $8k and is De Facto Uneducated, Undereducated or Miseducated! In 2019 in New Orleans, La., in a majority Black District constructed and designed for Negroes to abate legacy “Racist Gerrymandering” in the 2nd Congressional District, who did Negroes elect to represent them? Don’t stop there- In 2019, in New Orleans East, majority Negro, who did Negroes elect to represent their majority Negro underserved Council Dist. Busting at the seems with Collage Graduates (What has this said to young qualified Negro Collage Graduates?)? Answer to both questions, a 1st Generation Vietnamese whose grammar is on par with Ebonics with respect to a desired efficacy! Hey, we ain’t mad at Vietnamese, we resent ‘Simps, Slavery 2.0, uneducated/ educated Fools plus!

    5. Fascism and Racism is like 6 one way, half a dozen the other! You say potato, some say ‘toe- ma- toe! Quiz- #45 is a _ _ _ _ _ _!

    6. Satan and Demons from the Pit of Hell are no different in 2019 than when they initially fell! Not Spiritual or so- called Religious? Well let’s talk Straight- up Science-

    a. Google or research the following (Honestly Google has limited info)- CERN, House of Alice, Bohemian Grove, teV, Exceptionally High IQ in Quantum Physics at CERN and “Mother and Father”, The Higgs Boson Field and yada…(If you can’t divide, subtract, multiply, comprehend? Stay home watching Jerry, Murray et al ‘WIC your bowl of cereal).

    b. Why doesn’t your weather person report on ChemTrails, 1st denied now the government says they’re to combat “Global Warming”? Trump’s former Confederate Chief of Staff Kelly admitted this in an interview! What a load of crap intended for ‘Simps!

    7. Slavery 2.0 is here. You? Negroes are raping/rapping, pillaging, terrorizing neighborhoods, cohabiting in Prison to Pipeline Schools and Baby ‘Mammas are running amuck with weaves, extensions, poisonous nails as though everything outside the head is more important than what’s inside! Nearly everything you see about females in 2019 are artificial. It’s no wonder more and more men prefer “Real Blondes”, Cyborgs high in intelligence and obedience and frankly more sanitary and less vulgar!  

    Just like with slavery and each time, only The Most High can save! Only this time, it’ll be the last time Fools are forgiven and allowed to remain! Thank You Most High!!!

    Peace Out…

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