Getting Teens to Open Up

What’s New in Psychology?

Getting Teens to Open Up

Read More

Your Brain and Being Outdoors

What’s New in Psychology?

Your Brain and Being Outdoors   

Read More

Air Pollution and Children’s Learning Problems

What’s New in Psychology?

Air Pollution and Children’s Learning Problems

Read More

Why Does Light Therapy Improve Mood?

What’s New in Psychology?

Why Does Light Therapy Improve Mood?  

Read More

Should Parents and Caregivers Spank Children?

What’s New in Psychology?

Should Parents and Caregivers Spank Children?

Read More

The Effects of Bullying in Adulthood

What’s New in Psychology?

The Effects of Bullying in Adulthood

Read More

Five-Minute Breathing Workout Lowers Blood Pressure

What’s New in Psychology?

Five-Minute Breathing Workout Lowers Blood Pressure

Read More

Eating Disorder Behaviors Alter the Brain's Reward Response Process

What’s New in Psychology?

Eating Disorder Behaviors Alter the Brain's Reward Response Process

Read More

Is There a Fixed Mortality Age?

What’s New in Psychology?

Is There a Fixed Mortality Age?  

Read More

Childhood Trauma and Opioid Use

What’s New in Psychology?

Childhood Trauma and Opioid Use

Read More

Biological Markers for Stress and Depression?

What’s New in Psychology?

Biological Markers for Stress and Depression?

Read More

Anchoring Bias and Rudeness: Getting Trapped

What’s New in Psychology?
Anchoring Bias and Rudeness: Getting Trapped

 

Jim Windell

 
           Among the many cognitive biases is 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.
           For example, if a child is brought to a psychologist with the complaint that the youngster is hyperactive and inattentive, it may be difficult for the clinician to come up with a diagnosis outside of ADHD. In other words, when people are trying to make a decision, they often use an anchor or focal point as a reference or starting point. Researchers have found that people have a tendency to rely too heavily on the very first piece of information they learn – which can have a serious impact on the decision they end up making.
           In a 1974 paper, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman said that people tend to make estimates by starting from an initial value that is adjusted to yield the final answer. “The initial value, or starting point,” they explained, “may be suggested by the formulation of the problem, or it may be the result of a partial computation. In either case, adjustments are typically insufficient. That is, different starting points yield different estimates, which are biased toward the initial values.”
           In a new study, researchers at the University of Maryland suggest that if you experience rudeness that that experience will amplify the anchoring bias and influence future decisions.
           Because anchoring can happen in many scenarios, management professor Trevor Foulk at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and his co-authors wanted to study more about anchoring bias 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 takes up a lot of their psychological resources and narrows their mindset. Foulk and his associates suspected this might play a role in the anchoring effect.
           To test this theory, the researchers ran a medical simulation with anesthesiology residents. The residents had to diagnose and treat the patient, but right before the simulation started the participants were given a suggestion – that was purposefully incorrect – about the patient's condition. This suggestion served as the anchor, but then throughout the exercise, the simulator provided feedback that the ailment was not the suggested diagnosis, but instead something else. In some instances, before the simulation started, the researchers had one doctor enter the room and act rudely toward another doctor in front of the residents.
           “What we find is that when they experienced rudeness prior to the simulation starting, they kept on treating the wrong thing, even in the presence of consistent information that it was actually something else,” says Foulk. “They kept treating the anchor, even though they had plenty of reason to understand that the anchor diagnosis was not what the patient was suffering from.”
           This effect was replicated across a variety of other tasks, including negotiations as well as general knowledge tasks. However, the results were consistent -- experiencing rudeness makes it more likely that a person will get anchored to the first suggestion they hear.
           Foulk and his co-authors found that both witnessing and directly experiencing rudeness seemed to have the same effect. “Basically, what we're observing is a narrowing effect,” says Foulk. “Rudeness narrows your perspective, and that narrowed perspective makes anchoring more likely.”
           The researchers also explored ways to counteract the phenomenon. Since they found that rudeness makes you more likely to anchor because it narrows your perspective, the researchers explored two tasks that have been shown to expand your perspective – perspective-taking and information elaboration.
It has been found that perspective-taking helps you expand your perspective by seeing the world from another person's point of view. Similarly, information elaboration helps you see the situation from a wider perspective by thinking about it more broadly. Across their studies, the researchers found that both behaviors could counteract the effect of rudeness on anchoring.
           While these interventions can help make rudeness less likely to anchor people, Foulk says there may be a better remedy for the rudeness problem.
           "In important domains, where people are making critical decisions, we really need to rethink the way we treat people," Foulk says. That is, we should stop rude behavior and be less tolerant of it when does occur.
           To read the original journal article, find it with this reference:
Binyamin Cooper, Christopher R. Giordano, Amir Erez, Trevor A. Foulk, Heather Reed, Kent B. Berg. (2021). Trapped by a first hypothesis: How rudeness leads to anchoring.. Journal of Applied Psychology; DOI: 10.1037/apl0000914

Take a Break to Learn Better

What’s New in Psychology?

Take a Break to Learn Better

Read More

Bacteria in the Gut and Babies’ Fear

What’s New in Psychology?

Bacteria in the Gut and Babies’ Fear

Read More

A New Explanation for Memory Loss as an Early Symptom of Alzheimer’s

What New in Psychology?

A New Explanation for Memory Loss as an Early Symptom of Alzheimer’s

 Jim Windell

Read More

Early Childhood Education Shapes the Adult Brain

What’s New in Psychology?

Early Childhood Education Shapes the Adult Brain

Jim Windell

Read More

Long-term Effects of Concussion on Kids

What New in Psychology?

Long-term Effects of Concussion on Kids

Read More

A Way to Cut the Risk of Depression

What’s New in Psychology?

A Way to Cut the Risk of Depression

Jim Windell

Read More

Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline

What New in Psychology?

Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline

 
By Jim Windell
 
           Okay, we know that fruits and vegetables are good for you. And there is research that suggests that eating grapes and blueberries are important antioxidants and good sources of Vitamin C. Additionally, a regular fish diet, chocolate consumption and a handful of nuts daily may stave off the ravages of age-related cognitive decline.
           But researchers at the National University of Singapore, publishing online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, think another food may help as well.
           A six-year study conducted from 2011 to 2017, collected data from more than 600 Chinese seniors over the age of 60 living in Singapore. The research was carried out with support from the Life Sciences Institute and the Mind Science Centre at NUS, as well as the Singapore Ministry of Health's National Medical Research Council.
           A team of researchers from the Department of Psychological Medicine and Department of Biochemistry at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that participants who consumed more than two standard portions of mushrooms weekly had as much as 50 per cent reduced odds of having mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In the study, a portion was defined as three quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms with an average weight of around 150 grams. Two portions would be equivalent to approximately half a plate. While the portion sizes act as a guideline, it was shown that even one small portion of mushrooms a week may still be beneficial to reduce chances of MCI.
           MCI is typically viewed as the stage between the cognitive decline of normal ageing and the more serious decline of dementia. Seniors afflicted with MCI often display some form of memory loss or forgetfulness and may also show deficit on other cognitive functions, such as language, attention and visuospatial abilities. However, changes related to MCI can be subtle, as many people experiencing MCI do not experience disabling cognitive deficits that affect everyday life activities, which is characteristic of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
           According to Assistant Professor Lei Feng, who is from the NUS Department of Psychological Medicine and the lead author of this work, "People with MCI are still able to carry out their normal daily activities. So, what we had to determine in this study is whether these seniors had poorer performance on standard neuropsychological tests than other people of the same age and education background." The neuropsychological tests used in the study helped to measure various aspects of the participant’s cognitive abilities. Some of the tests were adopted from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
In addition to the neuropsychological tests, the researchers conducted extensive interviews with the senior citizens to help determine an accurate diagnosis. "The interview takes into account demographic information, medical history, psychological factors, and dietary habits,” said Assistant Professor Feng.  Also, a nurse measured blood pressure, weight, height, handgrip, and walking speed. After a two-hour standard neuropsychological assessment was performed, along with a dementia rating, the overall results of these tests were discussed in depth with psychiatrists involved in the study to get a diagnostic consensus.
           The results were somewhat surprising to the research team. "This correlation is surprising and encouraging,” said Feng. “It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline."
           The mushrooms noted in the study were six commonly consumed mushrooms in Singapore, and included golden, oyster, shiitake and white button mushrooms, as well as dried and canned mushrooms. The researchers, however, believe that other mushrooms may also have beneficial effects. They also think the reason for the reduced prevalence of MCI in mushroom eaters may be due to a specific compound found in almost all varieties. That compound is called ergothioneine (ET).
           "ET is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to synthesize on their own. But it can be obtained from dietary sources, one of the main ones being mushrooms," noted Dr Irwin Cheah, Senior Research Fellow at the NUS Department of Biochemistry.
           But other compounds found in mushrooms may also be advantageous for decreasing the risk of cognitive decline. Certain hericenones, erinacines, scabronines and dictyophorines may promote the synthesis of nerve growth factors. Bioactive compounds in mushrooms may also protect the brain from neurodegeneration by inhibiting production of beta amyloid and phosphorylated tau, and acetylcholinesterase.
While the researchers plan to do further research with ET and other plant-based ingredients, for the time being, it appears that mushrooms may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
           Which means, of course, when you order your next pizza, make sure you ask for extra mushrooms.














Read More

Lower Your Stress with More Fruits and Veggies?

What’s New in Psychology?

Lower Your Stress with More Fruits and Veggies?

Read More