Rudeness leads to anchoring, including in medical diagnoses


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Have you ever been cut off in traffic by another driver, leaving you still seething miles later? Or been interrupted by a colleague in a meeting, and found yourself replaying the event in your head even after you’ve left work for the day? Minor rude events like this happen frequently, and you may be surprised by the magnitude of the effects they have on our decision-making and functioning. In fact, recent research co-authored by management professor Trevor Foulk at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business suggests that in certain situations, incidental rudeness like this can be deadly.

In “Trapped by A First Hypothesis: How Rudeness Leads to Anchoring” forthcoming in the 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 looked at how experiencing rudeness amplifies the “anchoring bias.” The anchoring bias is the tendency to get fixated on one piece of information when making a decision (even if that piece of information is irrelevant).



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