Random Thoughts

Anchoring Bias and the Art of Music Selection

January 9, 2023

As music professionals, we are often tasked with the challenge of selecting the perfect piece of music to complement a project or event. Whether it’s for a film score, a commercial, or a live performance, finding the right music can be a daunting task. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential influence of anchoring bias when making our selection.

Anchoring bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive when making a decision or evaluating a situation. This “anchor” can influence our subsequent thoughts and judgments, leading us to give too much weight to the initial information and potentially overlooking other relevant factors.

In the context of music selection, anchoring bias can occur when we become fixated on a particular piece of music or genre, and are then unable to consider other options. For example, let’s say we are searching for music for a car commercial and the first piece we hear is a high-energy electronic track. We may anchor on this genre and subsequently reject other options that don’t fit this mold, even if they might be a better fit for the project overall.

So how can we overcome anchoring bias in music selection? Here are a few tips:

Be aware of your biases: The first step in overcoming anchoring bias is to recognize that it exists and that we are all prone to it. By being aware of this bias, we can take steps to mitigate its influence.

Keep an open mind: When searching for music, try to keep an open mind and consider a wide range of options. Don’t be afraid to explore new genres or styles that you may not be familiar with.

Seek out diverse perspectives: It can be easy to get stuck in our own ways of thinking, so try to seek out diverse perspectives and challenge your own assumptions. This can help to balance out the influence of the initial anchor and provide a more holistic view.

By being aware of anchoring bias and taking steps to overcome it, we can ensure that we are making informed and balanced music selection decisions.