Anchoring bias

This refers to the tendency for individuals to rely too heavily on a single piece of information. Job seekers often fall into this trap by focusing on the desired salary while ignoring other aspects of the job offer such as additional benefits, fit with the job, and working environment.

  • Example: Lives were lost in the Great Bear Wilderness Disaster when the coroner, within 5 minutes of arriving at the accident scene, declared all five passengers of a small plane dead, which halted the search effort for potential survivors.
    The next day two survivors who had been declared dead walked out of the forest. How could a mistake like this have been made?

One theory is that decision biases played a large role in this serious error, and anchoring on the fact that the plane had been consumed by flames led the coroner to call off the search for any possible survivors.