Anchoring in Time Estimation: The Effects of Explicit Anchoring on Prospective Time Estimates

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  • Quantitative estimates are biased when they are preceded by a guiding value. This is known as the anchoring effect (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). Limited research has examined anchoring effects in duration judgment tasks. Five-hundred and twenty-eight undergraduates kept track of time while playing a Tetris game. The experiment consisted of a 4 (Durations: 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes) X 3 (Anchors: 0.5, 1, 2) between-subjects design. After the task, the participants estimated the game's duration. As expected, raw estimates increased linearly with duration. However, evidence for anchoring was mixed. Overall, large anchors yielded overestimation, but small anchors did not yield underestimation. Moreover, these effects were inconsistent across durations. The results indicated that the anchoring bias might not emerge at short durations. Further research is required to replicate this research and determine the conditions under which anchors influence time judgments.

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  • 2022


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