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Combined Anchoring: Prosecution and defense claims as sequential anchors in the courtroom
Legal and Criminological Psychology  (IF2.743),  Pub Date : 2021-05-06, DOI: 10.1111/lcrp.12192
Roland Imhoff, Christoph Nickolaus

When making judgements under uncertainty not only lay people but also professional judges often rely on heuristics like a numerical anchor (e.g., a numerical sentencing demand) to generate a numerical response. As the prosecution has the privilege to present its demand first, some scholars have speculated about an anchoring-based unfair disadvantage for the defence (who has the last albeit less effective word in court). Despite the plausibility of this reasoning, it is based on a hitherto untested assumption that the first of two sequential anchors exerts a greater influence on a later judgement (a primacy effect). We argue that it is also conceivable that the last word in court has a recency advantage (a recency effect) or that order does not matter as both demands even each other out (a combined anchor).