Mental Models: Anchoring & Adjustment

When making decisions, we rely too heavily—or anchor—on one trait or piece of information.


How might this apply to great teams and cultures?
In unfamiliar situation, we tend to evaluate things based on a single data point, or known anchor. From here we draw conclusions and  make relative adjustments. These anchors are often a numeric value, such as one’s review score or a promotion ratio.

How might this apply to great products?
The original price or a single attribute such as the amount of memory on a laptop or cell phone. Oddly enough, even the suggestion of a completely irreverent number can influence subsequent numeric predictions.

What anchors are you intentionally—or unintentionally—providing people?

What challenges — tied to desired behaviors — do you have in place?

See Also
Priming, Conceptual Metaphor, Framing


In the whirl of our day-to-day interactions, it’s all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great teams, great cultures, and great products/services.

Mental Model Flash Cards bring together insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to your teams as well as the design of your products and services.