I believe the anchoring effect to be one of the most intriguing psychological phenomena, mainly due to its impact, ease of observation and ease of use. I’ve written much about anchoring before and find it hard to resist new studies on the topic.
One recent study shows that even irrelevant anchors can be used to preferentially anchor personal performance judgements:
Three studies were conducted investigating the effects of irrelevant anchors on performance judgments. Both a lab and field study demonstrated that an alternative anchoring manipulation that did not involve an explicit comparative question had effects on performance judgments similar to a traditional anchoring manipulation. The final study examined whether the anchoring effects were more likely when the anchor was highly applicable to the final judgment. The results indicated that both highly applicable and low applicable anchors produced an anchoring effect, but the highly applicable anchors had a larger effect on performance judgments.