Procedural debiasing of primacy/anchoring effects in clinical‐like judgments

Gregory H. Mumma, Steven B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Primacy (or anchoring) effects in clinical judgment occur when information presented at an early stage unduly influences a judgment compared to the effect of the same information presented at a later stage. Using recent theoretical models of these effects, three debiasing methods were developed and tested for their efficacy. Contrary to some recent failures to find anchoring effects, both single‐cue and sequence anchoring manipulations produced medium‐size effects on personality trait ratings and generalized to predictions of behavior. A consider‐the‐opposite procedure that involved cue sorting by diagnosticity debiased single‐cue anchoring, but comparable results were obtained by subjects who simply took notes while reviewing each cue prior to judgment. Bias inoculation was marginally successful at reducing single‐cue anchoring. Methodological issues as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-853
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1995


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