Internalizing cognitive bias: An experiential exercise for teaching and learning the anchoring effect

The ability to make good decisions is key to personal and professional success for students. In this case study, we outline a set of in-class exercises that we have used for students in business, law, human resources and public policy to help them understand and internalize their own susceptibility to cognitive errors. Specifically, we illustrate an experiential way to teach and learn the anchoring effect: a cognitive bias that causes decision-makers to rely too heavily on initial information when making subsequent judgments. We describe an anchoring exercise that can be easily adapted across various settings, and show the effectiveness of the exercise in achieving the learning outcomes based on aggregated classroom data and our own experiences of student reactions. We show the robustness of the exercise to adaptation and highlight challenges we encountered. We also discuss how the exercise can be used to encourage students to consider anchoring’s ethical implications, as well as strategies to safeguard against being anchored.


  • Dionne Pohler
  • John Charles Kleefeld

Publication Type

Journal Name

Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research and Practice