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Stephan Hartmann, Soroush Rafiee Rad
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preprint description
Deliberation is a standard procedure to make decisions in not too large groups. It has the advantage that the group members can learn from each other and that, at the end, often a consensus emerges that everybody endorses. But a deliberation procedure also has a number of disadvantages. E.g., what consensus is reached usually depends on the order in which the different group members speak. More specifically, the group member who speaks first often has an unproportionally high impact on the final decision: She anchors the deliberation process. While the anchoring effect undoubtably appears in real deliberating groups, we ask whether it also appears in groups whose members are truth-seeking and rational in the sense that they take the information provided by their fellow group members properly into account by updating their beliefs according to plausible rules. To answer this question and to make some progress towards explaining the anchoring effect, a formal model is constructed and analyzed. Using this model, we study the anchoring effect in homogenous groups (i.e. groups whose members consider each other as equally reliable), for which we provide analytical results, and in inhomogeneous groups, for which we provide simulation results.

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