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Anchoring Effect when Estimating the Value of an Art Piece


The terms anchor and anchoring have been utilized as a part of psychological literature to cover a puzzling exhibit of different trial controls and results that appear from the impacts of adjudged jolts on psycho-physical scales, based on early offers and offers in transactions. The expansion of implications is a genuine deterrent to hypothetical advance. The present research concentrates on anchoring impacts in errands of quantitative estimation. In this unique situation, an anchor is a self-assertive esteem that the subject must consider before making a numerical gauge (Tversky & Kahneman, 1975). An anchoring impact is exhibited by demonstrating that the evaluations of gatherings indicating distinctive anchors tend to remain measurements for these anchors. There is also another procedure for the estimation of anchoring impacts mentioned in this outline, and factual and hypothetical investigations are presented in order to make this enhanced estimation conceivable.

Researchers of anchoring in estimation assignments have regularly utilized a grouping of two undertakings: subjects initially judge whether a specific esteem (the anchor) is higher or lower than an indeterminate amount, and at that point, they gauge this amount. An exertion is made here to persuade subjects that the anchor is discretionary and uninformative — the choice of the anchor might be affected by a wheel of possibility, by an arbitrarily picked card, or by the examination number. Numerous researchers utilized the subject's social security number as an anchor in an undertaking of the evaluation of the number of doctors recorded in the telephone directory. In every one of these cases, apparently uninformative anchors delivered substantial impacts (Tversky & Kahneman, 1975). It might be explained by the fact that being strongly dependable, anchoring impact has been regularly utilized as a primitive idea clarifying different outcomes while not being clarified itself. The author has experienced three principle thoughts regarding the role of the anchor in undertakings of quantitative judgment. These thoughts are not fundamentally unrelated, and at least one may be valid in various or similar cases.


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A substantial assortment of research has shown that the individuals can be surprisingly accurate when making numeric evaluations. These assessments are regularly affected by an assortment of variables, including a particular learning area of any individual, state of mind, inspiration, the accessibility of new data, and the utilization of heuristics. For instance, the research showed that the individuals from different nation populaces were affected by their space-particular information, with heuristics identifying the nature of the districts (i.e., individuals gave higher evaluations to nations they were more comfortable with, despite the fact that their assessments were not any more precise for the commonplace economies) (Jacowitz & Kahneman, 1995).

The research study depicted in this assignment intended to test the impact of two factors that had been made to appear to affect numeric appraisals, such as the level of information and numeric anchors. In particular, the author  has analyzed whether the participants with high capacity for information acquisition are less affected by numeric anchors than their low-learning partners (Jacowitz & Kahneman, 1995). The examinations additionally tried to establish whether learning has an influence on the connection between information, powerlessness, and anchoring impacts. The quality and all-inclusive statement of anchoring impacts have driven a few researchers to depict them as ones among the most vigorous impacts in brain research. Based on the all-inclusive statement of anchoring impacts, various records have been offered to clarify why individuals anchor on immaterial esteems. These records can be divided into three classifications:

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1) upgraded openness of select learning;

2) anchoring and deficient alteration;

3) preparing.

In this particular experiment, the purpose of the study is exploring anchoring effect when participants estimate the prices and values of the drawings of Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The anchoring index will be used for the estimation of the descriptive statistics of the data collected during study. Moreover, the anchoring effect will be estimated for every participant separately. This technique will allow the researcher the imemdiate interpretation of the results of the analysis. In the end, the hypothesis of the study will be evaluated by other suitable statistical tools. These outcomes offer assistance in the development of idea that introduction to an anchor stimulates the availability of anchor-steady information.



For the discussed research, 60 participants have been chosen. Among them, 31 people presented a low anchor condition, and 29 demonstrated a high anchor condition. According to the gender characteristic, 48 participants of the study were females and 12 were males. The range of the participants’ ages included the variables from 18 to 32 years. The median level of the participants’ age was 23 years, with the standard deviation of 2.83. The distribution of the participants by ethnicity value was the following: Latino-Americans – 45 %, Asians – 14 %, Afro-Americans – 7 %, Europeans – 19 %, Multiracial – 3 %, and 12 % of participants were with other types of ethnicity.

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The recruitment of the participants was performed in the form of class activity. The participants were instructed to take part in the survey as a part of the behavioral research methods class. In this way, the high level of the participants’ interest in the survey was guaranteed. As a result of the survey, 4 participants have been excluded due to expressing suspicion about the purpose of the study.


For the aims of the study, the participants were asked to estimate the prices of three black and white drawings by Henri Matisse. These were abstract line drawings used to estimate the overall attitude of the participants to these pieces in order to form the understanding of their preferences in art.

Design & Procedure

Due to the nature of the study, the between-group design of the survey has been used. The independent variable in the research was the anchor type of participants (high or low). The dependent variable in the study was the price estimation for drawings. The process of the survey was organized in the following form – the participants were already seated in the classroom for their regular class time. Each participant was provided with the consent form that described the purposes of the survey. Since the participation in the survey was voluntary, each participant was asked for their agreement to take part in the research. Later, each participant was assigned to one of two anchor groups. After this, each participant was given a booklet that included the information about the biography of Henri Matisse and his three black and white drawings of women for the estimation of prices.

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Each participant was asked to define whether the painting could be sold at the price that is higher or lower than the anchor value. For the low anchor group, the provided price was $ 5’000, while for the high anchor group, the price was $ 100’000. Each participant of the research was also asked to make their own estimation of the paintings’ prices and provide the qualitative estimation of the paintings’ quality in the form of the scale from 1 to 5. After this, the participants had to answer the anonymous demographic questionnaire that accumulated important data about the participants’ characteristics. They were further asked about their familiarity with Matisse’s works and their estimations of the study’s paradigm. In the end of the survey, the participants were informed about the main target of the study and the requirements for the achievement of certain results.


The main target of the presented research was to analyze the influence of the anchor level (independent variable) on the estimation of the paintings’ prices (dependent variable) by the participants. In this presented case, the main hypothesis of the researchers was that the estimation of the paintings’ prices by the participants would highly depend on the defined anchor type. The final assessment of the paintings’ qualities by the participants depended on the value of the anchor that was mentioned in the question ($ 5’000 or $ 100’000). A one-way ANOVA study was performed for the processing of data about the results of the study.

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According to the results of the performed one-way ANOVA test, different estimations of the paintings have been obtained from the groups of participants with different anchor types. In this case, the participants of the low anchor group (M = 8998.39, SD = 10538.046) have presented considerably lower estimations of the general paintings’ prices as compared to the group with the high anchor level. For the first group of the independent variable, the minimum and maximum levels of the paintings’ prices were $ 400 and $ 40’000. At the same time, the participants from the high anchor group (M = 159739.10, SD = 164215.533) have demonstrated higher levels of minimum and maximum prices of the paintings — $ 1’000 and $ 500’000. Other statistical values for the presented research were the following — F (1, 58) = 26.06, p<.001, 2p = .31.


The analysis of the research results can serve as a basis for the support of the initial hypothesis of the research. Initial hypothesis claimed the existence of strict connections between the anchor type and the estimation of the paintings’ prices by the participants. The results of the performed survey and the one-way ANOVA statistical processing of the results demonstrated that the participants with a higher level of the independent variable (anchor type) presented significantly higher levels of the estimated prices for the paintings. In this case, minimum and maximum estimations of the price for the low and high anchor groups varied considerably, with a higher level of results diversification for the high anchor group. Thus, the results of the study completely support the initial hypothesis.

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Furthermore, the results of the presented study fully correspond to the findings of the earlier researches in this sphere. The connection between the anchor level and the participants’ responses regarding the dependent variable was supported, and the general conclusion was similar to the one in previous studies. At the same time, it is important to highlight the fact of higher diversification of results for the group with high level of anchor. This specific factor has not been carefully studied in previous researches and might have an important role in future researches.

This way, a careful study of specific reactions of the participants on the anchor level during their decision-making can be required. The difference between minimum and maximum results for two anchor groups proved the fact that the participants with higher anchor level are more likely to present a wider range of results as compared to the first group of the independent variable. This conclusion can be important for the general understanding of humans’ and customers’ psychology in the process of decision-making. As a result, it is necessary to pay higher attention to the analysis of the role of high anchor level in the participants’ preferences. The main research hypothesis should include the idea that the high level of anchor is more likely to affect estimation of the dependent variable by the participants than low anchor level.



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