Has traffic ever stopped for another driver and left you boiling miles later? Or did a colleague interrupt him at a meeting and find himself reproducing the event in his head, even after he had left work for the day? Minor bad manners like this happen frequently and you may be surprised at the magnitude of the effects they have on our decision making and functioning. In fact, recent research co-authored by management professor Trevor Foulk of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland suggests that in certain situations, incidental rudeness like this can be fatal.
In “Trapped by a First Hypothesis: How Rudeness Leads to Anchoring” will appear in Journal of Applied Psychology, Foulk and co-authors Binyamin Cooper of Carnegie Mellon University, Christopher R. Giordano and Amir Erez of the University of Florida, Heather Reed of Envision Physician Services and Kent B. Berg of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital rudeness amplifies the “anchor bias”. Anchor bias is the tendency to look at information when a decision is made (even if that information is irrelevant).
For example, if someone asks, “Do you think the Mississippi River is shorter or longer than 500 miles?”, This 500-mile suggestion can become an anchor that can influence how long you think the Mississippi River has. When that happens, it’s hard to stray too far from that initial suggestion, Foulk says.
Anchor bias can occur in many different situations, but is very common in medical diagnoses and negotiations. “If you go in to the doctor and say,‘ I think I have a heart attack, ’that can become an anchor point and the doctor can fix that diagnosis, even if you only have indigestion,” Foulk explains. “If doctors don’t move enough anchors, they’ll start treating what’s not right.”
Because anchoring can happen in many scenarios, Foulk and his co-authors wanted to study more about the phenomenon and what factors exacerbate or mitigate it. They have been studying rudeness in the workplace for years and knew from previous studies that when people experience rudeness, it occupies many of their psychological resources and reduces their mentality. They suspected that this could play a role in the anchoring effect.
To test their theory, the researchers conducted a medical simulation with anesthesiology residents. Residents had to diagnose and treat the patient, and just before the simulation began, participants received an (incorrect) suggestion about the patient’s condition. This suggestion served as an anchor, but throughout the exercise, the simulator provided information that the disease was not the suggested diagnosis, but something else.
In some iterations, before the simulation began, the researchers ushered a doctor into the room and acted rudely toward another doctor in front of the residents.
“What we find is that when they experienced the rudeness before starting the simulation, they continued to deal with what was not right, even in the presence of consistent information that was actually something else,” Foulk says. “They continued to treat the anchor, even though they had many reasons to understand that the anchor diagnosis was not what the patient was suffering from.”
This effect was replicated in several other tasks, including negotiations and general knowledge tasks. Throughout the different studies, the results were consistent: experiencing rudeness makes it more likely that a person will anchor themselves to the first suggestion they hear.
“Throughout the four studies, we found that both the rudeness witnessed and the direct experience appeared to have a similar effect,” says Foulk. “Basically, what we observe is a narrow effect. Rudeness reduces your perspective and that reduced perspective makes anchoring more likely.”
Overall, the anchoring trend isn’t usually a big deal, says Foulk. “But when you’re in those important, critical areas of decision-making, such as medical diagnoses or big negotiations, interpersonal interactions are really important. Minor things can get on top of us in a way we don’t realize.”
To provide additional information about this phenomenon, researchers also explored ways to counteract it. Rudeness makes you more likely to anchor because it narrows your perspective, so the researchers explored two tasks that have been shown to broaden your perspective: taking perspective and crafting information.
Taking perspective helps you broaden your perspective by seeing the world from another person’s point of view, and crafting information helps you see the situation from a broader perspective by thinking about it in a different way. wider. Throughout their studies, researchers found that both behaviors could counteract the effect of rudeness on anchoring.
Although these interventions may help make rudeness less likely anchor folks, Foulk says they should be the last resort. The best remedy for the problem of rudeness?
“In important domains, where people make critical decisions, we really need to rethink how we treat people,” he says. “We never allowed aggressive behavior at work. But we’re fine with rudeness and now we know more and more that small insults have an equal impact on people’s performance.”
And it has to stop, he says.
“We tend to underestimate the implications for interpersonal treatment performance. We feel,“ If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. ”It’s almost as if you could tolerate the way you treat people as a badge of honor. But the reality is that this mistreatment has really detrimental effects on performance in areas that interest us, like medicine. It’s important. “
This is the fourth paper in a series of Foulk research that shows that rudeness negatively affects medical performance, where impacts can be much greater and much more severe than insults, he said.
“In simulations, we find that mortality increases by rudeness. People could die because someone insulted the surgeon before they started operating.”
Binyamin Cooper et al, Caught by a first hypothesis: How rudeness leads to anchoring., Journal of Applied Psychology (2021). DOI: 10.1037 / apl0000914
University of Maryland
Citation: Study shows how rudeness leads to anchorage, including medical diagnoses (2021, June 11), retrieved June 11, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-rudeness -anchoring-medical.html
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