"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
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).
For example, if someone asks, "Do you think the Mississippi River is shorter or
longer than 500 miles?," that suggestion of 500 miles can become an anchor that
can influence how long you think the Mississippi River is. When it happens,
it's difficult to stray very far from that initial suggestion, says Foulk."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics