Sadness and susceptibility to judgmental bias: The case of anchoring

Galen V Bodenhausen*, Shira Gabriel, Megan Lineberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


In a wide range of empirical paradigms, sadness has been associated with more extensive and detail-oriented thinking than happiness, resulting in reductions in judgmental bias that arise from reliance on stereotypes and other simple decision heuristics. It was hypothesized that anchoring would constitute a significant exception to this general pattern. Recent research on anchoring indicates that an active thought process underlies the emergence of this bias. If sad people are likely to think more actively about the judgmental anchor than their neutral-mood counterparts, their subsequent judgments should be more likely to be assimilated toward this reference point. This prediction was confirmed in two experiments demonstrating that sad people are indeed more susceptible to anchoring bias than are people in a neutral mood. Moreover, this effect generalized over judgments in positive, neutral, and negative content domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-323
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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