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J Clin Psychol. 1995 Nov;51(6):841-53.

Procedural debiasing of primacy/anchoring effects in clinical-like judgments.

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Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock 79409, USA.


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.

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