Most people use language manipulation on an everyday basis as a way to influence answers and receive a specific reply; this is called anchoring. People use anchoring all the time, whether purposefully or not. There is a big difference between the question "Does this dress make me look fat?" and "How good does this dress look on me?." The former question might influence someone to think negatively in regards to the appearance of the dress, because something negative is pointed out with the "fat" reference. On the other hand, the latter question makes a positive remark, which may influence one to look for aspects of the dress that are just that, positive. The goal of this study is to figure out if rephrasing a question (anchoring) can cause someone to significantly modify one's answer.
There are numerous previous studies regarding the power of anchoring, and they all focus on a specific matter adjacent to it. Studies have tested on a multiplicity of subjects, varying from kindergarten students (Zern, 1967), to Swedish residents (Wahl, Svensson, & Hydén, 2010), to American college students (Liberman, Samuels, & Ross, 2004.) One study attempted to assess the effect of asking questions with three deviating variations (Zern, 1967.) Zern (1967) experimented with young school children and found that by independently introducing three variations of a basic question, the children's responses significantly changed. With this study, Zern (1967) concluded that responses may indeed change with a small matter of manipulation.
Similar to the study aforementioned, Ellis (1947) also tested his hypothesis with children, but his subjects were different due to his specific interest in comparing children with behavior problems and a non-problem group. Also similarly to the study performed by Zern (1967), Ellis (1947) incorporated three variables to be introduced in his experiment; direct and indirect phrasing being a notable differing variable in the latter experiment. The hypothesis in this study was that significant differences in the mean scores of the children would be present due to the three variables (Ellis, 1947);those being the two groups, two tests, and order of presentation.
Numerous other studies have also observed the power of anchoring, with "The Name of the Game" being a popular, easy to understand example (Liberman et al., 2004.) Liberman et al. (2004) planned a very simple, yet effective way to demonstrate the effect that something as simple as a title could have on varying individuals. In their experiment, Liberman et al. (2004) had subjects with more cooperative traits and subjects with more competitive traits play a game. One group of mixed cooperative and competitive...