Effects of rank ordering stimuli on magnitude ratings of these and other stimuli

Investigated the effects of rank ordering stimuli on subsequent magnitude ratings of these and other stimuli with 5 experiments. In Exps I and II, 203 undergraduate Ss rank ordered 6 environmental issues in terms of their importance. Results show that ranking stimuli from “most” to “least” led to more extreme ratings than ranking them from “least” to “most,” regardless of whether the rating criterion was the same as or diametrically opposite to the ranking criterion. Thus, Ss who had previously ranked issues beginning with the most important subsequently rated these issues not only as more important, but also as more trivial, than did Ss who had ranked them beginning with the least important. Results from Exps III-V (with a total of 172 undergraduates) show that these effects generalized to stimuli other than those that had previously been ranked and generalized over stimulus domains (e.g., importance of attributes of a marriage partner, the beauty of 6 states, the trainability of 6 animals). Results suggest that rank ordering stimuli led Ss to adopt comparative standards, the use of which generalized to subsequent magnitude rating tasks and produced an anchoring bias similar to that identified by A. Tversky and D. Kahneman (see record 1975-06433-001). (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)