I was reading about an interesting concept on how our brains processes questions to find answers.
Our brains work in two ways when answering a question. a) We already know the answer of a fact based question such as “Who is the President of the United States?” and thus use the Automatic System. b) We do not know the answer of a question such as “How happy are you?” and use the Reflective System of the brain. The Reflective System is interesting as in it is affected by external things and so it is easier to influence.
To take the example of the question “How happy are you?”. Suppose, I ask this question to you in the following manner.
- When was the last time you dated?
- How happy your life is?
Your answer to the second question will probably depend on what is your answer to the first question. Gee, I haven’t had a date in a year, my life should suck.
But if you reverse the order of the two questions, there might not be any correlation between the two. The first question uses the Automatic System and the second question uses the Reflective System. The first question is what is called “The Anchor”. It sets a mark from which you adjust your answer for the next question.
“The Anchor” could have important consequences in a number of fields.
- If you are selling a service / solution, you could convince of the value by setting an anchor.
- If you are releasing a new technology, which is not already on the market, you could set the price of the technology which could act as the anchor price for the clones that soon appear.
… and so on and so forth.
So, it’s important to understand the concept of the anchor and influence the answers to the questions you ask. There’s no better way to convince a person if the answer which convinces her comes from herself.