Summary: People tend to focus on a single, initial piece of information, which influences how they estimate value and make subsequent decisions.
My husband and I were car shopping and found a used BMW that looked pristine and had only 10,000 miles on it. The price was shockingly low, only $2,000. We had to have it. Driving home, we smiled from ear to ear about our shiny used car, unknowing it would fall apart within 18 months. We had focused so much on the price and vehicle make, that we did not consider the possible issues (such as rusted parts in old, unused cars). This is anchoring bias at work.
Definition: Anchoring (or focalism) bias refers to the tendency to rely on a single piece of information or aspect of an event (the “anchor”) to inform decision making.
Anchoring is a judgment heuristic. Anchoring and other judgment heuristics, such as framing and priming , are helpful in expediting everyday decisions, particularly in the absence of information, resources, or time. They tend to be automatic for most people and can sometimes lead to erroneous estimates or judgment calls.