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Anchors as Semantic Primes in Value Construction: An EEG Study of the Anchoring Effect.

Ma Q, Li D, Shen Q, Qiu W - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Moreover, higher anchors induced a stronger theta band power increase compared with lower anchors when subjects listened to the noises, indicating that the participants felt more unpleasant during the actual experience of the noise.Therefore, these data suggest that a semantic priming process underlies the anchoring effect in WTA.This study provides proof for the robustness of the anchoring effect and neural evidence of the semantic priming model.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China; Neuromanagement Lab, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous research regarding anchoring effects has demonstrated that human judgments are often assimilated to irrelevant information. Studies have demonstrated that anchors influence the economic valuation of various products and experiences; however, the cognitive explanations of this effect remain controversial, and its neural mechanisms have rarely been explored. In the current study, we conducted an electroencephalography (EEG) experiment to investigate the anchoring effect on willingness to accept (WTA) for an aversive hedonic experience and the role of anchors in this judgment heuristic. The behavioral results demonstrated that random numbers affect participants' WTA for listening to pieces of noise. The participants asked for higher pay after comparing their WTA with higher numbers. The EEG results indicated that anchors also influenced the neural underpinnings of the valuation process. Specifically, when a higher anchor number was drawn, larger P2 and late positive potential amplitudes were elicited, reflecting the anticipation of more intensive pain from the subsequent noise. Moreover, higher anchors induced a stronger theta band power increase compared with lower anchors when subjects listened to the noises, indicating that the participants felt more unpleasant during the actual experience of the noise. The levels of unpleasantness during both anticipation and experience were consistent with the semantic information implied by the anchors. Therefore, these data suggest that a semantic priming process underlies the anchoring effect in WTA. This study provides proof for the robustness of the anchoring effect and neural evidence of the semantic priming model. Our findings indicate that activated contextual information, even seemingly irrelevant, can be embedded in the construction of economic value in the brain.

No MeSH data available.


Grand-average LPP waveforms from channels CPz, Pz, POz and Oz in two anchor conditions (high, low) time-locked to anchor onset.
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pone.0139954.g003: Grand-average LPP waveforms from channels CPz, Pz, POz and Oz in two anchor conditions (high, low) time-locked to anchor onset.

Mentions: The grand average ERPs under the three anchor conditions are presented in Figs 2 and 3. Repeated-measures ANOVAs of the mean amplitudes of P2 identified a significant main effect of the anchor (F(1, 18) = 15.368, p = 0.001), whereas no main effect of the other factors or interactions of the factors was identified (caudality: F(2, 36) = 2.324, p = 0.139, ε = 0.597; laterality: F(2, 36) = 1.903, p = 0.164; anchor × caudality: F(2, 36) = 0.334, p = 0.718; anchor × laterality: F(2, 36) = 2.117, p = 0.135; caudality × laterality: F(4, 72) = 0.400, p = 0.704, ε = 0.582; anchor × caudality × laterality: F(4, 72) = 0.825, p = 0.456, ε = 0.552). The high anchors induced larger P2 amplitudes relative to the low anchors. The statistics for the mean LPP amplitude indicated similar results: only the main effect of anchor (F(1, 18) = 7.289, p = 0.015) was significant; the main effect of the other factors and the interactions of the factors was not significant (caudality: F(3, 54) = 1.911, p = 0.182, ε = 0.382; laterality: F(2, 36) = 0.998, p = 0.379; anchor × caudality: F(3, 54) = 0.331, p = 0.699, ε = 0.602; anchor × laterality: F(2, 36) = 0.244, p = 0.785; caudality × laterality: F(6, 108) = 0.400, p = 0.366, ε = 0.621; anchor × caudality × laterality: F(6, 108) = 1.314, p = 0.257). LPP amplitudes were larger in the high anchor condition.


Anchors as Semantic Primes in Value Construction: An EEG Study of the Anchoring Effect.

Ma Q, Li D, Shen Q, Qiu W - PLoS ONE (2015)

Grand-average LPP waveforms from channels CPz, Pz, POz and Oz in two anchor conditions (high, low) time-locked to anchor onset.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4595290&req=5

pone.0139954.g003: Grand-average LPP waveforms from channels CPz, Pz, POz and Oz in two anchor conditions (high, low) time-locked to anchor onset.
Mentions: The grand average ERPs under the three anchor conditions are presented in Figs 2 and 3. Repeated-measures ANOVAs of the mean amplitudes of P2 identified a significant main effect of the anchor (F(1, 18) = 15.368, p = 0.001), whereas no main effect of the other factors or interactions of the factors was identified (caudality: F(2, 36) = 2.324, p = 0.139, ε = 0.597; laterality: F(2, 36) = 1.903, p = 0.164; anchor × caudality: F(2, 36) = 0.334, p = 0.718; anchor × laterality: F(2, 36) = 2.117, p = 0.135; caudality × laterality: F(4, 72) = 0.400, p = 0.704, ε = 0.582; anchor × caudality × laterality: F(4, 72) = 0.825, p = 0.456, ε = 0.552). The high anchors induced larger P2 amplitudes relative to the low anchors. The statistics for the mean LPP amplitude indicated similar results: only the main effect of anchor (F(1, 18) = 7.289, p = 0.015) was significant; the main effect of the other factors and the interactions of the factors was not significant (caudality: F(3, 54) = 1.911, p = 0.182, ε = 0.382; laterality: F(2, 36) = 0.998, p = 0.379; anchor × caudality: F(3, 54) = 0.331, p = 0.699, ε = 0.602; anchor × laterality: F(2, 36) = 0.244, p = 0.785; caudality × laterality: F(6, 108) = 0.400, p = 0.366, ε = 0.621; anchor × caudality × laterality: F(6, 108) = 1.314, p = 0.257). LPP amplitudes were larger in the high anchor condition.

Bottom Line: Moreover, higher anchors induced a stronger theta band power increase compared with lower anchors when subjects listened to the noises, indicating that the participants felt more unpleasant during the actual experience of the noise.Therefore, these data suggest that a semantic priming process underlies the anchoring effect in WTA.This study provides proof for the robustness of the anchoring effect and neural evidence of the semantic priming model.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China; Neuromanagement Lab, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous research regarding anchoring effects has demonstrated that human judgments are often assimilated to irrelevant information. Studies have demonstrated that anchors influence the economic valuation of various products and experiences; however, the cognitive explanations of this effect remain controversial, and its neural mechanisms have rarely been explored. In the current study, we conducted an electroencephalography (EEG) experiment to investigate the anchoring effect on willingness to accept (WTA) for an aversive hedonic experience and the role of anchors in this judgment heuristic. The behavioral results demonstrated that random numbers affect participants' WTA for listening to pieces of noise. The participants asked for higher pay after comparing their WTA with higher numbers. The EEG results indicated that anchors also influenced the neural underpinnings of the valuation process. Specifically, when a higher anchor number was drawn, larger P2 and late positive potential amplitudes were elicited, reflecting the anticipation of more intensive pain from the subsequent noise. Moreover, higher anchors induced a stronger theta band power increase compared with lower anchors when subjects listened to the noises, indicating that the participants felt more unpleasant during the actual experience of the noise. The levels of unpleasantness during both anticipation and experience were consistent with the semantic information implied by the anchors. Therefore, these data suggest that a semantic priming process underlies the anchoring effect in WTA. This study provides proof for the robustness of the anchoring effect and neural evidence of the semantic priming model. Our findings indicate that activated contextual information, even seemingly irrelevant, can be embedded in the construction of economic value in the brain.

No MeSH data available.