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Prime numbers: anchoring and its implications for theories of behavior priming

Newell, BR; Shanks, DR; (2014) Prime numbers: anchoring and its implications for theories of behavior priming. Social Cognition , 32 (Supple) 88 - 108. 10.1521/soco.2014.32.supp.88. Green open access

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Abstract

Subtle primes can influence behavior, often in ways that seem irrational. Anchoring provides a compelling illustration of this: judgments can be influenced by anchors even when the anchors are known to be irrelevant and uninformative. In this article, we selectively examine the anchoring literature in order to evaluate a theoretical framework which has been employed to interpret many social and other priming effects. In this framework, primes are assumed to have broad effects, influencing a wide range of possible downstream behaviors, and these influences are largely automatic. The anchoring literature supports neither of these hypotheses. Anchors have narrow effects on behavior with little transfer across judgments, these effects can be controlled, and deliberate engagement with the anchor is a prerequisite for obtaining influences on later judgments. We question whether priming studies reveal evidence for the sort of automatic and consequential mental processes that are commonly proposed. Read More: http://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/soco.2014.32.supp.88

Type: Article
Title: Prime numbers: anchoring and its implications for theories of behavior priming
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1521/soco.2014.32.supp.88
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/soco.2014.32.supp.88
Language: English
Additional information: © Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1443406
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