Do Researchers Anchor their Beliefs on the Outcome of an Initial Study? Testing the Time-Reversal Heuristic

Anja F. Ernst, Rink Hoekstra, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Andrew Gelman, Don van Ravenzwaaij

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

2 Citaten (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


As a research field expands, scientists have to update their knowledge and integrate the outcomes of a sequence of studies. However, such integrative judgments are generally known to fall victim to a primacy bias where
people anchor their judgments on the initial information. In this preregistered study we tested the hypothesis that people anchor on the outcome of a small initial study, reducing the impact of a larger subsequent study that
contradicts the initial result. Contrary to our expectation, undergraduates and academics displayed a recency bias, anchoring their judgment on the research outcome presented last. This recency bias is due to the fact that
unsuccessful replications decreased trust in an effect more than did unsuccessful initial experiments. We recommend the time-reversal heuristic to account for temporal order effects during integration of research results.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)158-169
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftExperimental psychology
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - mei-2018

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