Seeds aren't anchors

2001-04-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by N R Brown Robert Siegler
Exposure to a few task-relevant numerical facts (seed facts) often improves subsequent numerical estimates. We performed two experiments to investigate the mechanism that produces these seeding effects. In Experiment 1, participants estimated national populations; in Experiment 2, they estimated between-city distances. In both, items were selected so that the actual value of the seed facts (S-1) was, on average, below participants' initial estimates for those items (S,) and above the initial estimates for the transfer items (T-1). Given this configuration, the anchoring position predicts that the postseeding transfer estimates should be greater than the preseeding transfer estimates (T-2 > T-1), whereas the feedback/ induction position predicts the opposite (T-2 < T-1). In both experiments, the latter pattern of results emerged, supporting the conclusion that seeds aren't anchors.