The Influence Of Mood States On Anchoring Effects

6661 words - 27 pages

The Influence of Mood States on Anchoring Effects 1
The Influence of Mood States on Anchoring Effects
Senior Research Thesis
Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation with research distinction in Psychology in the undergraduate colleges of The Ohio State University
Qijia Chen
The Ohio State University March 2013
Project Advisor, Professor Ellen M. Peters, Department of Psychology

The Influence of Mood States on Anchoring Effects 2
Anchoring effects refer to the phenomenon that arbitrary numerical information can bias
subsequent estimates. These anchoring effects appear to be influenced by the presence of
specific emotional states. However, among existing studies that closely examined the effects
of specific emotional states on anchoring, there is a lack of agreement in terms of
interpretation of these results. Previous research has demonstrated that specific emotions
often carry over from past situations to color future judgments (Keltner, Ellsworth, &
Edwards, 1993; Han, Lerner, & Keltner, 2007). The current study further investigated the
effects of sadness and happiness on anchoring effects and their underlying mechanisms.
Because previous studies proposed deliberation as the potential cause of greater anchoring
effects in people induced to sad mood (Bodenhausen et al., 2000), in the present study, the
level of deliberation was manipulated through the presence versus absence of a cognitive-
load manipulation. Consistent with previous findings, individuals induced to sad moods
demonstrated greater susceptibility to provided anchors than their counterparts, but only
when the cognitive load was absent. Under cognitive load, participants in all three mood
states (happy, sad and neutral) demonstrated greater anchoring effects compared to their
counterparts with no cognitive load; participants under cognitive load also reported greater
confidence in their estimates. The result suggests that other mechanisms such as affect as
spotlight may account at least in part for the difference in anchoring effects across different
mood conditions.

The Influence of Mood States on Anchoring Effects 3
I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Ellen Peters, for her continued guidance and
support, which has made this thesis project possible. I cannot thank her enough for
introducing me to the field of JDM research, which has greatly enriched my intellectual
experience at Ohio State. I owe my gratitude to Dan Schley; his help has been instrumental,
and is especially appreciated. I would also like to thank members of the CAIDe lab for their
helpful feedback on this project. David Weiner and Mary Kate Tompkins deserve a special
mention for their encouragement and insights. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Thomas
Nygren for his support and valuable suggestions over the past year.

The Influence of Mood States on Anchoring Effects 4
Anchoring effects refer to the assimilation, or incorporation,...

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