Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Alice F. Healy

Second Advisor

Matt Jones

Third Advisor

Michael Mozer

Fourth Advisor

Lyle E. Bourne, Jr.

Fifth Advisor

Tamara Sumner


Initial impressions are lasting, and thus initial misunderstandings can hinder subsequent performance in many domains. In previous work we described evidence of the anchoring bias in a centroid judgment task involving sequentially arriving targets, varying in spatial location. In decisions based on sequentially arriving pieces of information, the anchoring bias has been suggested to lead to order effects, or a greater influence at items at a particular serial position on decisions. This dissertation describes five experiments using this centroid judgment task. The first experiment examines the effect of complexity on primacy and recency in this simple decision. The second, third, and fourth experiments explore declarative and nondeclarative approaches to debiasing these anchoring effects, without success. The fifth experiment explores the effect of articulatory suppression on bias in the centroid judgment. Results of the final experiment suggested that anchoring might involve effortful, explicit processing to a greater extent than is often suggested, because articulatory suppression eliminated any demonstrated anchoring bias in the decision.