Depression and the susceptibility to anchoring bias

Diogo Carvalho da Silva, Teresa Garcia-Marques


Abstract: Are depressive individuals more susceptible to anchoring effects? Does this susceptibility depend upon the affective nature of the event? Does individuals’ tendency to ruminative thinking have a role in these effects? We approach these questions by having participants (N=146) in a study perform an anchoring task (see Mussweiler & Strack, 2001) with neutral, negative, and depressive events, and subsequently indicate their level of depressive symptoms, via the Patient Health Questionnaire and levels of rumination via the Ruminative Response Scale. Results show anchoring effects to be stronger for neutral events than negative or depressive events. Both depression and rumination interfere positively with anchoring in such that the higher the levels of depression and rumination the higher the susceptibility to anchors. Both effects were shown to occur independently and not to be reliably moderated by the neutral, negative, or depressive nature of the events.


Anchoring, Bias, Affective tone, Depressive symptoms, Rumination.

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