I: ANCHORING The saying “it’s never too late to make a first impression” is not strictly true, at least when we come to making decisions. Psychologists have found that we place a greater emphasis on the first piece of information we receive than on what we come to learn later. These “anchors” have such a significant influence on our ability to make judgments that even experienced and knowledgeable people can be swayed by this effect. In a 2006 German study, a group of judges were asked to try a hypothetical case, but only after the prosecutor had asked for a particular length of sentence. Even though they knew the prosecutor’s demands were arbitrary, the judges that had been given a higher anchor handed out longer sentences on average than those with lower anchors. No one is quite sure why anchoring is so pervasive but the theories put forward all relate to the way we This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Amia Srinivasan Amia Srinivasan on the philosophy of sex. Arts & Culture Issue 43 David Erritzoe On the mind-bending potential of psychedelics. Arts & Culture Issue 43 The Alt-Right Wellness Loop Where alt-health meets the alt-right. Arts & Culture Issue 43 Essay: Open Relationships What happens when private therapy becomes public entertainment? Arts & Culture Issue 43 My Favorite Thing David Erritzoe shares the vial that sparked psychedelic thinking. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Art of Endurance From demanding physical feats to quiet meditation, activities that push our bodies and minds to the limits are good for more than just a brief rush.