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Trapped by A First Hypothesis: How Rudeness Leads to Anchoring

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In this paper we explore the effect of encounters with rudeness on the tendency to engage in anchoring, one of the most robust and widespread cognitive biases. Integrating the self-immersion framework with the selective accessibility model, we propose that rudeness-induced negative arousal will narrow individuals’ perspectives in a way that will make anchoring more likely. Additionally, we posit that perspective taking and information elaboration will attenuate the effect of rudeness on both negative arousal and subsequent anchoring. Across four experimental studies, we test the impact of exposure to rudeness on anchoring as manifested in a variety of tasks (medical diagnosis, judgment tasks, and negotiation). In a pilot study, we find that rudeness is associated with anchoring among a group of medical students making a medical diagnosis. In Study 1, we show that negative arousal mediates the effect of rudeness on anchoring among medical residents treating a patient, and that perspective taking moderates these effects. Study 2 replicates the results of Study 1 using a common anchoring task, and Study 3 builds on these results by replicating them in a negotiation setting and testing information elaboration as a boundary condition. Across the four studies, we find consistent evidence that rudeness-induced negative arousal leads to anchoring, and that these effects can be mitigated by perspective taking and information elaboration.
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Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 1
© 2021, American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and
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via its DOI: 10.1037/apl0000914
Trapped by A First Hypothesis: How Rudeness Leads to Anchoring
Binyamin Cooper
Carnegie Mellon University
Christopher R. Giordano
University of Florida
Amir Erez
University of Florida
Trevor A. Foulk
University of Maryland
Heather Reed
Envision Physician Services
Kent B. Berg
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Acknowledgements:
We are sincerely thankful for Robert Kirby, MD, Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology
at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital for his assistance in delivering the
manipulations in Study 1. We would also like to thank Allyson Worthy, Sophie Stypelkoski, and
Prea Rahman for their timely and outstanding work as research assistants. Correspondence
concerning this article should be addressed to Binyamin Cooper, Tepper School of Business,
Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail:
bcoop@cmu.edu
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 2
Abstract
In this paper we explore the effect of encounters with rudeness on the tendency to engage
in anchoring, one of the most robust and widespread cognitive biases. Integrating the self-
immersion framework with the selective accessibility model, we propose that rudeness-induced
negative arousal will narrow individuals perspectives in a way that will make anchoring more
likely. Additionally, we posit that perspective taking and information elaboration will attenuate
the effect of rudeness on both negative arousal and subsequent anchoring. Across four
experimental studies, we test the impact of exposure to rudeness on anchoring as manifested in a
variety of tasks (medical diagnosis, judgment tasks, and negotiation). In a pilot study, we find
that rudeness is associated with anchoring among a group of medical students making a medical
diagnosis. In Study 1, we show that negative arousal mediates the effect of rudeness on
anchoring among medical residents treating a patient, and that perspective taking moderates
these effects. Study 2 replicates the results of Study 1 using a common anchoring task, and Study
3 builds on these results by replicating them in a negotiation setting and testing information
elaboration as a boundary condition. Across the four studies, we find consistent evidence that
rudeness-induced negative arousal leads to anchoring, and that these effects can be mitigated by
perspective taking and information elaboration.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 3
Encounters with rudenessa low-intensity negative behavior that violates norms of
civility (Andersson & Pearson, 1999; Porath & Erez, 2007) are omnipresent in the workplace
(Porath & Pearson, 2013), and a growing body of research has shown that these encounters have
negative effects on individuals task performance (Chen et al., 2013; Porath & Erez, 2007, 2009;
Rafaeli et al., 2012; Riskin et al., 2015; Riskin et al., 2017; Sliter et al., 2012; Woolum et al.,
2017). Particularly alarming are the results of two studies by Riskin and colleagues (Riskin et al.,
2015; Riskin et al., 2017), which revealed that physicians and nurses made life-threatening
diagnostic and procedural errors when exposed to rudeness. While these findings highlight that
rudeness can lead individuals to perform at suboptimal levels, sometimes in crucial domains, we
argue that rudeness may potentially have critical and perhaps even more devastating effects on
judgment biases.
Judgment biases are fundamentally different from suboptimal performance; they
represent systematic flaws in the ways that individuals make decisions and develop strategies to
solve problems (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). In turn, factors that affect judgment biases may not
only lead to suboptimal performance, but also cause employees to engage in the wrong tasks,
develop ineffective strategies, or pursue futile or inadequate plans of action when attempting to
solve organizational problems (Bazerman & Moore, 2012; Tsay et al., 2011). Moreover, because
judgment biases are typically held with substantial confidence, people are generally unaware of
their effects, and they often deny that their judgment is biased (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). In
consequence, rudeness-induced judgment errors may be highly resistant to change. To address
this possibility, in this study we investigate the effect of rudeness on anchoring bias, one of the
most robust forms of judgment bias (Furnham & Boo, 2011; Kahneman & Klein, 2009).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 4
Anchoring, defined as the tendency to rely too heavily or fixate on one piece of
information when making judgments and decisions (Strack & Mussweiler, 1997; Tversky &
Kahneman, 1974), is among the most prominent examples of how individuals’ judgments can go
astray (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). The ubiquity of the anchoring bias and its strong effects on
the way individuals make decisions means it has a severe impact in myriad domains. For
example, studies have shown that anchoring is overwhelmingly the most common cognitive error
in medical diagnoses (Croskerry, 2003; Stiegler et al., 2011). In negotiation settings, negotiators
often become fixated on specific (and sometimes irrelevant) pieces of information that negatively
impact their negotiated outcomes (Epley & Gilovich, 2006; Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001;
Kahneman, 1992; Northcraft & Neale, 1987). In the courtroom, judges have been shown to
award radically different sentences for almost identical crimes based on the punishments
suggested by the prosecutor (Enough & Mussweiler, 2001; Peer & Gamliel, 2013). Likewise,
investors judgments of stock prices have been shown to be heavily impacted by the anchoring
bias (Cen et al., 2013). Summarizing this point, Whyte and Sebenius (1997) suggested that
anchoring . . . therefore appears to pose a significant risk to the quality of individual judgment
(p. 82).
To explore the effect of rudeness on anchoring, our model builds on the self-immersion
framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017) to first argue that encounters with
rudeness, whether they are witnessed or directly experienced, result in negative arousal. Next,
integrating this hypothesis with the selective accessibility model (SAM; Mussweiler & Strack,
1999; Strack & Mussweiler, 1997), which describes the processes that lead to anchoring, we
argue that rudeness-induced negative arousal narrows employees perception in a way that
exacerbates the anchoring effect. Importantly, by identifying negative arousal as a mediator of
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 5
the indirect effect of rudeness on anchorhing, our model is also able to consider boundary
conditions that can weaken this effect. Specfically, we consider how both perspective taking and
information elaboration can weaken the effect of rudeness on negative arousal, and subsequently
on anchoring. Figure 1 depicts our full theoretical model.
In developing and testing our model, we make important theoretical contributions to the
domains of organizational rudeness and decision making. First, by demonstrating that rudeness is
associated with anchoring, we provide important new insights suggesting that the negative
impacts of rudeness may go beyond a mere reduction in performance (Chen et al., 2013; Porath
& Erez, 2007, 2009; Rafaeli et al., 2012; Riskin et al., 2015; Riskin et al., 2017; Sliter et al.,
2012; Woolum et al., 2017). Moreover, our work deepens our theoretical understanding of the
repercussions of encounters with rudeness at work, by highlighting the pathway through which it
may lead to flawed judgments when solving organizational problems or making work-related
decisions (Bazerman & Moore, 2012; Tsay et al., 2011).
Second, by demonstrating that rudeness-induced negative arousal mediates the effect of
rudeness on anchoring, our work provides a richer theoretical account of the relationship
between rudeness and anchoring. Most prior work studying the antecedents of anchoring has
tended to focus on individual differences (Furnham & Boo, 2011; Loschelder et al., 2016), with
very little work investigating the effects of mood and emotions on anchoring (Furnham & Boo,
2011). As a result, the potential for contextual factors, and their subsequent emotional responses,
to be associated with the anchoring bias is not currently well understood (Critcher & Gilovich,
2008; Ku et al., 2006). This represents a critical limitation of the extant literature, because
without clearly knowing which situations trigger a greater tendency to engage in anchoring, and
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 6
without understanding the mediating processes associated with this phenomenon, it is difficult to
avoid those triggers or identify factors that could mitigate their effects.
Finally, we contribute to the literature on anchoring by considering perspective taking
and information elaboration as boundary conditions that can weaken the effect of rudeness on
negative arousal and subsequent anchoring. While scholars have recognized that further
research is needed to investigate factors that may reduce the susceptibility towards an initial
value (Furnham & Boo, 2011, p. 41), the factors that might attenuate the effects of anchoring
are not well understood (Critcher & Gilovich, 2008; Englich et al., 2005; Furnham & Boo, 2011;
Mussweiler et al., 2000; Oppenheimer et al., 2008; Shalvi et al., 2010; Sinaceur et al., 2013). We
explore these questions across four experiments, in which we investigated the impact of rudeness
on the anchoring bias in a variety of contexts, including medical diagnosis, judgment tasks, and
negotiation.
Theory and Hypotheses
Rudeness Leads to Negative Arousal
According to the self-immersion framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk,
2017), when individuals encounter a surprising or unexpected event, their thoughts become
immersed in the event in an attempt to interpret it, make sense of it, and understand their own
feelings related to that event. We argue that this process is likely to apply to rudeness, as rude
events have been conceptualized as both unexpected and surprising (Porath & Pearson, 2013).
Specifically, we argue that when individuals are exposed to rude encounters, they are likely to
engage in a maladaptive thought process by reflecting on the details of the event and their
feelings following it, in an attempt to understand it. Consistent with this expectation, rudeness
has been associated with rumination (Porath et al., 2010) and attempts at sense-making (Porath &
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 7
Erez, 2007, 2009), suggesting that, consistent with the self-immersion framework (Ayduk &
Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017), when people encounter rudeness they immerse themselves
in the event and self-reflect upon it.
While individuals may inherently believe that the purpose of reflecting on and thinking
about events like rudeness is to better understand and eventually feel better about them (Ayduk
& Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017), the opposite often occurs. Indeed, while some evidence
indicates that reflecting on negative experiences can improve well-being (Foa & Kozak, 1986;
Gross, 2013; Mischel & Ayduk, 2011; Pennebaker & Graybeal, 2001; Wilson & Gilbert, 2008),
a large body of work suggests that when people try to make sense of negative events, negative
thoughts become more accessible in a way that exacerbates their negative implications on well-
being. That is, the very attempt to understand a negative event leads to a vicious cycle of
rumination that serves to maintain and amplify negative emotions and distress (Ayduk & Kross,
2008; Brosschot et al., 2006; Denson et al., 2009; Gerin et al., 2006; Gotlib & Joormann, 2010;
Hankin, 2008; Hankin et al., 2010; McEwen, 1998). As a result, even minor aversive events such
as rudeness can cause strong negative emotional reactions as individuals thoughts and attention
narrow to focus on the negative aspects of the event (Porath et al., 2010). Indeed, a consistent
finding in the rudeness literature is that encounters with rudeness are associated with negative
emotional reactions (Giumetti et al., 2013; Kern & Grandey, 2009; Lim & Lee, 2011; Miner‐
Rubino & Reed, 2010; Sliter et al., 2010). Because the process of immersing oneself in events
and thinking about them makes it difficult to separate oneself from the emotionally arousing
aspects of the negative event itself (Ayduk & Kross, 2010), we argue that when people encounter
rudeness this process should lead to a state of high arousal negative emotions (hereafter referred
to as negative arousal).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 8
Additionally, beyond direct experiences with rudeness, we argue that merely witnessing
rude events should lead to increased negative arousal. First, strong evidence shows that
individuals are generally concerned about the well-being of others, so that observing others being
harmed can trigger negative reactions in witnesses (Fehr & Gächter, 2002; Kahneman et al.,
1986; Ostrom, 1998; Turillo et al., 2002). Second, negative emotions may result from the
tendency of people to empathize with the targets of rudeness and therefore vicariously adopt
their negative emotions (Kelly & Barsade, 2001; Maitlis & Ozcelik, 2004).
Taken together, and building on the self-immersion framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010;
Kross & Ayduk, 2017), we argue that an encounter with rudeness, whether it is witnessed or
directly experienced, will result in negative arousal because it leads individuals to focus their
attention on the negative aspects of the event in an attempt to understand it and manage their
reactions to it. This prediction is consistent with evidence that ruminating about negative
experiences leads to a significant increase in blood pressureone of the main indicators of
arousal (Brosschot et al., 2006; Gerin et al., 2006)and with evidence that both direct
experiences with rudeness and witnessing rudeness are associated with high arousal and negative
affective responses (Porath & Erez, 2007, 2009). Therefore, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 1: Rudeness will be positively related to negative arousal.
Negative Arousal Leads to Anchoring
Integrating the self-immersion framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017)
with the selective accessibility model (SAM; Mussweiler & Strack, 1999; Strack & Mussweiler,
1997), which describes the phenomenon of anchoring, our model argues that rudeness-induced
negative arousal will narrow individuals attention and focus in a way that leads to anchoring.
According to the SAM, when individuals attempt to solve an anchoring problem, they start with
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 9
the assumption that the judgment target is equal to the anchor. In other words, rather than
consider the entire universe of possible outcomes, their attention becomes focused on the anchor,
and they employ a positive test strategy that causes them to seek evidence consistent with the
anchor (Snyder & Swann Jr, 1978; Wason, 1960; Wason & Johnson-Laird, 1972). This focus on
the anchor increases its subsequent accessibility, such that knowledge consistent with the anchor
is more likely to be used for the final judgment of the target. When this knowledge is accessible,
individuals do not generate a representative set of knowledge for the judgment target. Rather,
they selectively recall and use their knowledge specifically related to the anchor (see Bargh &
Chartrand, 1999; Higgins, 1996), with this information then influencing their judgment of the
target (Strack & Mussweiler, 1997). In sum, the SAM describes a process whereby individuals
attention becomes narrowed and focused on the anchor, in a way that causes the anchor to have a
disproportionate effect on the judgment of the target (Kahneman, 2011).
Building on the SAM, we argue that rudeness-induced negative arousal is likely to
exacerbate this narrowing process, making anchoring more likely. Indeed, considerable evidence
suggests that both the negative valence and high arousal aspects of negative arousal may enhance
this selective tendency by narrowing individuals attentional focus. For example, compared with
people in positive moods, those in negative moods have been found to rely on a narrower set of
local information to form their judgments (Isbell et al., 2005). Several studies have also shown
that participants in negative moods perform better on distraction tasks because they are better
able to ignore peripheral information (Moriya & Nittono, 2011; Rowe et al., 2007). In addition,
this narrowing tendency has been demonstrated in a study showing that negative affect disrupts
holistic processing of information (Curby et al., 2012). Taken together, this research suggests
that negative affect narrows individuals focus of attention, causing them to focus on only partial
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 10
information, which is an important aspect of the phenomenon of anchoring bias (Strack &
Mussweiler, 1997).
Additionally, high-arousal states have been shown to narrow individuals perspectives
and cause them to focus only on central pieces of information (e.g., Burke et al., 1992;
Christianson & Loftus, 1987, 1991; Christianson et al., 1991; Safer et al., 1998; Wessel &
Merckelbach, 1997). For example, Christianson and Loftus (1991) found that negative arousal
focuses participants attention on the central features of an image, and Christianson et al. (1991)
showed that when participants were allowed to fixate as long as they wished on an object, they
made more eye fixation on a central object when viewing an emotional event. These results are
consistent with Easterbrook (1959) hypothesis that when individuals are in a high arousal state,
they tend to focus their attention on immediately relevant cues and simultaneously ignore more
peripheral information. Taken together, we theorize that rudeness-induced negative arousal will
exacerbate perceptual narrowing that is associated with anchoring. Therefore, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 2: Negative arousal will be positively related to anchoring.
Hypothesis 3: Negative arousal will mediate the relationship between rudeness and
anchoring.
Counteracting the Effects of Rudeness on Anchoring
Identifying negative arousal as a mediator of the indirect effect of rudneess on anchoring
is important, not only because it provides a rich theoretical account of this relatinship, but also
because it suggests potential remedies to counteract this effect. In other words, while we argue
that rudeness leads to negative arousal because individauls tend to immerse themselves in the
details of the rude event as a means of processing and understanding it, interventions that
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 11
assuage this tendency should weaken the resultant negative arousal in a way that makes
anchoring less likely.
According to the self-immersion framework, as well as perspectives on emotional
regulation (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017; Webb et al., 2012), individuals can
engage in several strategies to shift their focus away from a troublesome event (Koole, 2009).
The self-immersion framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Koole, 2009; Kross & Ayduk, 2017)
serves as the foundation for multiple emotional regulation theories that suggest that to prevent
the negative emotional effects of adverse events, individuals need to detach themselves from the
situation (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Gerin et al., 2006; Koole, 2009; Kross & Ayduk, 2017; Rusting
& Nolen-Hoeksema, 1998; Webb et al., 2012). For example, related theoretical perspectives
have argued that to control the negative emotional effects of adverse events, individuals need to
adopt the psychological perspective of another person (e.g., perspective taking; Batson et al.,
1997; Parker & Axtell, 2001; Takaku, 2001). A related approach suggests that the negative
emotional consequences of self-immersion can be avoided when people immerse themselves
instead in emotionally neutral aspects of the task at hand by, for example, focusing on
information related to the task (Gerin et al., 2006; Rusting & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1998). Both
methods are argued to be capable of countering the tendency of individuals to immerse
themselves in negative events while trying to make sense of them (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross
& Ayduk, 2017; Webb et al., 2012), and both can be classified as goal-oriented emotion-
regulation methods, in that they help decrease the intensity of emotionally charged information
that is irrelevant or interruptive to the task at hand (Van Dillen & Koole, 2009).
Perspective taking entails the ability to adopt either the psychological viewpoint of
oneself in a different time or space (Kross & Ayduk, 2017) or that of another person by
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 12
imagining what the persons situation is like (Galinsky & Ku, 2004). In other words, perspective-
taking strategies involve distancing oneself from emotional stimuli by adopting the perspective
of a detached observer (Ochsner & Gross, 2008). Studies suggest that people who take others
perspectives are better able to detach themselves emotionally from negative stimuli and function
more effectively cognitively, leaving them better equipped to stop the immersive effects of
adverse events that might result in negative arousal (Rafaeli et al., 2012).
Additionally, direct evidence suggests that perspective taking is negatively related to
various high-arousal reactions, including individual aggressiveness, anger, attribution of blame,
and efforts to retaliate (Batson et al., 1997; Parker & Axtell, 2001; Takaku, 2001). According to
evidence from neurological studies, cognitive reappraisal methods such as perspective taking
inhibit activation of emotional regions of the brain, including the amygdala and insula, but
increase activation of the more calculating parts of the brain, such as the dorsal anterior cingulate
cortex and prefrontal cortex regions, which support working memory, language, and long-term
memory (Koole, 2009). These findings are consistent with the notion that reappraisal processes
such as perspective taking activate top-down control of emotion-generating systems (Koole,
2009) and reduce emotional reactions to aversive events.
In sum, we argue that perspective taking should mitigate the tendency of individuals who
encounter rudeness to immerse themselves in the negative experience, by drawing their
attentional focus away from the event. Therefore, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 4: Perspective taking will moderate the relationship between rudeness and
negative arousal, such that the rudeness positive effects on negative arousal will be
reduced for those high in perspective taking in comparison to those low in perspective
taking.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 13
Hypothesis 5: Perspective taking will moderate the indirect relationship between
rudeness and anchoring through negative arousal
As mentioned previously, in addition to adopting the perspective of others, the self-
immersion framework suggests that focusing on the details of the task at hand can divert
attention away from the emotionally laden aspects of a rude encounter in a way that should
reduce negative arousal (Erber & Tesser, 1992; Gerin et al., 2006; Koole, 2009; Rusting &
Nolen-Hoeksema, 1998). In the context of anchoring, we argue that information elaboration, or
seeking additional information about the situation or task, can be a useful way to accomplish this
goal (Mussweiler & Strack, 1999; Strack & Mussweiler, 1997). Indeed, research has shown that
active attempts to avoid thinking about an unwanted stimulus can paradoxically increase
attention to that stimuli (ironic process theory; Wegner, 1994; Wegner et al., 1993; Wegner &
Gold, 1995). As a solution, Wegner (1994) suggested that thinking about other topics that are
unassociated with the unwanted stimulus, but related to the task at hand, can be a successful
strategy to suppress thoughts about the stimulus. Thus, elaborating on information related to the
task at hand is likely to function as an effective method of focusing ones attention on something
other than the rude encounter.
Performing an emotionally neutral task such as information elaboration has interruptive
effects on self-immersion in emotions because of the effects of working memory processes (Van
Dillen & Koole, 2007). Emotions automatically and unintentionally activate emotion-congruent
cognitions in working memory that enhance emotional states (Bower & Mayer, 1989; Siemer,
2005). However, when working memory is loaded with alternative tasks, this stream of emotion-
congruent cognitions is interrupted (Koole, 2009). Indeed, tasks that load on working memory
have been found to reduce the impacts of emotional stimuli (Erber & Tesser, 1992; Van Dillen &
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 14
Koole, 2007, 2009). Furthermore, loading working memory with unrelated tasks has been found
to attenuate the neural response to negative emotional stimuli (Van Dillen et al., 2009). For
example, multiple studies show that individuals who engage in information elaboration are less
susceptible to emotional and other automaticity-induced distractions and, therefore, demonstrate
more accurate decision making subsequent to encountering these disruptors (Ely et al., 2011;
Frederick, 2005; Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001; Koehler & James, 2010; Mata et al., 2013;
Moritz et al., 2013; Oechssler et al., 2009; Pennycook et al., 2012; Shenhav et al., 2012). Thus,
Hypothesis 6: Information elaboration will moderate the relationships between rudeness
and negative arousal, such that the rudeness effects will be reduced for those who exhibit
high information elaboration behavior in comparison to those who exhibit low
information elaboration behavior.
Hypothesis 7: Information elaboration will moderate the indirect relationships between
rudeness and anchoring through negative arousal
Methods Overview
We tested the effect of rudeness on anchoring in four studies across various anchoring
tasks (medical diagnosis, judgment tasks, negotiation). The pilot study investigated the effect of
rudeness on anchoring in a medical diagnosis situation. Study 1 built on these results by testing
negative arousal as a mediator of the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring, as well as by
determining whether perspective taking moderated these effects in a medical simulation. Study 2
replicated the results of Study 1 using a set of judgment tasks that are common in the anchoring
literature. Finally, Study 3 explored the effects of rudeness-induced negative arousal on
anchoring in a negotiation setting, and also considered information elaboration as a moderator of
the relationship between rudeness and negative arousal, and subsequent anchoring. Table 1
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 15
summarizes the hypotheses that were tested in each study and the results of these tests. All
adapted or self-developed items for measures used in this manuscript are reported in the
Appendix.
Pilot Study
Participants and Procedure
In the pilot study, fourth-year medical students who were in their Critical Care
Medicine/Anesthesiology clerkship in the medical school at a large southeastern U.S. university
were invited to participate in an online simulation study in lieu of completing another
assignment. Participation was voluntary, and participants were told that the purpose of this study
was to investigate factors that influence how doctors make decisions when developing diagnoses.
A total of 138 medical students participated (Mage = 27.9, SDage = 3.07; 44% female), and
participants were randomly assigned into either a rudeness (N = 69) or control (N = 69)
condition.
This study was approved by University of Florida IRB (Title: The Effect of Incivility on
the Use of Confirmation Bias; Study #2015-U-1120). After completing the informed consent
release, participants were told they would assume the role of Leslie Wilder, MD (a gender-
neutral name), a physician at the hospitals Emergency Department (ED). They were further told
that as physicians who work in the hospitals ED, they would see patients with a variety of
conditions, ranging from patients with emergent conditions, such as strokes and injuries from car
accidents, to patients with lower-acuity conditions, such as lacerations or musculoskeletal
injuries. The participants were also told that to make the simulation more realistic, they would be
asked to listen to interactions that are typical in the ED. They then started the simulation by
listening to a recording of an interaction between an attending emergency medicine physician
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 16
named Bill, whom they were tasked with shadowing that day, and another senior emergency
medical physician (who was not the direct supervisor of Bill). In the rudeness condition,
participants heard an interaction in which the senior physician rudely chided Bill for not coming
to a meeting; in the neutral condition, the senior physician and Bill discussed Bill’s failure to
show up to the meeting in a neutral tone (for details, see Appendix 1). Following this
manipulation, participants took part in the simulation task (described next), then completed a
manipulation check, and finally were debriefed as to the true purpose of the study.
Simulation Task and Measures
Participants were asked to diagnose a 55-year-old male patient who presented to the ED
with chest discomfort. They were told that his 19-year-old daughter was afraid that her father
was having a heart attack, and this suggested diagnosis served as the anchor in this study. The
correct diagnosis of the patients condition was acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease
[GERD]). In normal diagnostic situations, doctors decide how much information to obtain on a
patients condition before making a diagnosis. Thus, to make this scenario as realistic as
possible, participants were instructed that they would be given one piece of information about
the patient; then, if they felt ready to make a diagnosis after receiving this information they could
do so, or they could request one more piece of information. They were instructed that they could
ask for more pieces of information, one at a time, until they felt comfortable making a diagnosis
or until they had been given all of the information available. Because the cover story for this
simulation was that topic of interest was how doctors make decisions, participants were also
asked to rate the usefulness of each piece of information they received.
To increase ecological validity, the information available to participants was organized in
ascending order, such that later items were more diagnostic in terms of suggesting the correct
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 17
diagnosis (GERD) compared to earlier items. In medical diagnosis situations, information that is
readily available early in the process (i.e., information obtained from the patient) is often
suggestive, while information obtained later in the diagnostic process (i.e., the results of specific
lab tests) is much more informative in terms of providing clear guidance toward the correct
diagnosis. In total, there were 24 pieces of information that participants could request, and
participants asked for an average of 14.69 (SD=7.45) pieces of information.
Measures
Anchoring. Anchoring is defined in medicine as the tendency to perceptually lock onto
salient features in the patients initial presentation too early in the diagnostic process and failing
to adjust this initial impression in the light of later information (Croskerry, 2003, p. 777).
Accordingly, the dependent variable in this study was a dummy variable indicating whether
participants remained anchored to the initial diagnosis of heart attack (when the correct diagnosis
was GERD), where 1 = anchored diagnosis and 0 = not anchored diagnosis.
Controls. Because having more information about the patient may change the likelihood
of physicians remaining anchored to the initial diagnosis, we controlled for how many questions
each participant asked before reaching a final diagnosis. Additionally, because decision-making
biases have been shown to increase with age (Klaczynski & Robinson, 2000), we controlled for
age throughout our analysis.
Rudeness manipulation check. At the end of the simulation, participants rated the
behavior of the people in the recorded interaction (i.e., the attending physician and the senior
physician) using a six-item rudeness measure that had been validated in prior research (Foulk et
al., 2016). Sample items included They behaved in a polite manner (reverse-coded) (1 =
Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree) (α=.92).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 18
Results and Discussion
An ANOVA with the rudeness condition as the independent variable and the rudeness
manipulation check as the dependent variable provided evidence that the rudeness manipulation
was effective (Mcontrol = 2.62, SDcontrol = .77; Mrudeness = 4.01, SDrudeness = .65; F(1, 134) = 126.91,
p < .01). Table 2 presents the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among the study
variables. Table 3 reports the logistic regression results for the relationship between rudeness and
anchoring; these results indicated that rudeness had a marginally significant effect on anchoring
(B = .81, p = .058, odds ratio = 2.25).
As described earlier, the information given to participants was increasingly diagnostic in
terms of suggesting that the patient had GERD. The final piece of information available
(Troponin was negative) was diagnostic to the point that it essentially made the anchor
diagnosis of heart attack impossible, since very rarely do people having a heart attack have a
normal troponin level. Indeed, of the 23 participants who received this information, only one (in
the control condition) indicated that the diagnosis was heart attack. Therefore, as a supplemental
analysis, we reran our model including only participants who did not ask for this final piece of
information (N = 115). In this analysis, rudeness had a significant effect on anchoring (B = .95, p
= .032). Participants in the rudeness condition were 2.58 times more likely than those in the
control condition to be anchored to the incorrect diagnosis of heart attack.
The results of the pilot study provided preliminary support for our expectation that
encounters with rudeness would be associated with a greater tendency to engage in anchoring.
Therefore, in the following three studies we tested our theoretical model, which posits that
rudeness-induced negative arousal will increase the likelihood of anchoring, and that perspective
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 19
taking and information elaboration will attenuate the effect of rudeness on negative arousal, and
as a result on subsequent anchoring.
Study 1
Participants
In Study 1, 40 anesthesiology residents (Mage = 31.9, SDage = 3.63; 70% male) in a
hospital at a large southeastern U.S. university volunteered to participate in this study in
exchange for a break from their normal surgical duties.
1
Participants were randomly assigned to
either a rudeness (N = 20) or control (N = 20) condition, and each condition had approximately
the same number of second-, third-, and fourth-year residents.
Procedure
This study was approved by University of Florida IRB (Title: Effects of Power and
Incivility on Anchoring; Study #2014-U-0169). Each resident was invited individually to
participate in a simulation using a sophisticated medical manikin in the hospitals simulation
laboratory. The participants were told that the purpose of the study was to investigate factors that
influence how doctors make decisions when developing diagnoses.
Before the simulation started, each participant completed a consent form and a measure
of perspective taking. After they completed this questionnaire, but immediately before initiating
the surgical simulation, the participants witnessed an interaction that served as our manipulation
of rudeness. In the control condition, the lab technician (in reality, a confederate) told the
experimenter in a loud voice that he missed a meeting with Dr. XXX and that Dr. XXX asked
him to give him call. In the rudeness condition, Dr. XXX (a different confederate, who presented
1
When residents took part in this simulation, they were relieved of their duties and replaced by one of the authors,
who is a board-certified anesthesiologist. Additionally, following the simulation, participants received a break of at
least one hour during which they could relax, get a snack or coffee, and socialize, before returning to their normal
duties.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 20
as a senior colleague with no supervision authority) arrived in the simulation lab and chided the
experimenter in a rude manner for missing their meeting (for details, see Appendix 2). After
observing this exchange, the participant proceeded to the actual simulation.
Each participant was given a packet containing information about the patients initial
symptoms and medical history. As part of the medical history, it was mentioned that the patient
had a remote history of an allergy to penicillin. At the end of the simulation, each participant
responded to the negative arousal measure, reported demographics, and was debriefed about the
true purpose of the study. Participants were specifically asked not to discuss the study with other
residents.
Surgical simulation presentation. The simulation started with the participant being
asked to relieve an anesthesiology partner who was experiencing acute gastrointestinal distress.
This change of physicians occurred immediately before the final surgical time-out (i.e., a pause
during which the surgical team identifies the patient and the surgical procedure) for a 37-year-old
female who was having minimally invasive liver surgery to remove a tumor. The participant
received this information as well as a paper document indicating an otherwise completely
healthy patient who had normal vital signs.
The experimenter who played the surgeon initiated a final time-out identifying the patient
and procedure and asked if 900 mg of the antibiotic clindamycin requested had been
administered. The participant had to tell the surgeon that 2 mg of a different antibiotic, cefazolin
(an antibiotic with a slight potential for triggering an allergic reaction secondary to the patient’s
preexisting penicillin allergy), was given by their partner instead of clindamycin for unknown
reasons. The experimenter surgeon expressed significant concern about giving this medication
because of the patients history of a penicillin allergy and the potential risk of anaphylaxis
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 21
(severe allergic reaction). Up to this point, the patient had been stable and without any other
concerning signs, so all of the residents felt comfortable proceeding, as they saw no evidence of
anaphylaxis. Nonetheless, the administration of this medication in light of a historical allergy
was meant to suggest to the participant that a diagnosis of anaphylaxis might initially explain
why the patients vital signs became unstable during the surgery.
Surgical incision commenced with the surgeon inserting the minimally invasive
laparoscopic equipment (cameras inserted through the abdominal wall) into the manikin. Video
screens surrounding the patient displayed the initial stages of the corresponding laparoscopic
surgery.
During the procedure, the patient gradually became tachycardic (heart rate that exceeds
the normal resting rate) and hypotensive (low blood pressure), a condition that could evolve into
severe shock if not addressed. The drop in blood pressure resulted from blood loss that occurred
from an unnoticed, inadvertent placement of one of the laparoscopic tools through a blood vessel
that was out of the cameras view at the beginning of the surgery. The simulation ended with
either a sustained blood pressure of 40/20 mm Hg (a blood pressure not consistent with sustained
life) or a request to the surgeon to inspect the abdomen for blood loss.
Throughout the simulation, the participant was tasked with differentiating the possible
causes of tachycardia and hypotension: anaphylaxis, anesthetic overdose, patient positioning, or
major blood loss. The participant could perform many interventions to treat this patients
concerning vital signs, such as leveling the bed, giving up to 2 liters of fluid in divided boluses,
administering vasopressors (medicines that contract blood vessels and raise blood pressure) or
other medications, inspecting for a rash, manipulating the ventilator, and discussing the problem
with the surgeon.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 22
Measures
Anchoring. Consistent with the conceptualization of anchoring in medical situations as
failing to move off of an initial incorrect diagnosis to a correct one (Croskerry, 2003), in this
study we operationalized whether participants behaviors in the simulation were consistent with
having moved away from the incorrect anchor (anaphylaxis) to the correct diagnosis (blood loss).
Two of the authors (both faculty members and board-certified anesthesiologists), who were blind
to the randomly assigned condition to which participants were assigned, reviewed the residents
written documentation (i.e., diagnosis, orders) and watched the recorded simulations (which
were edited to begin after the rudeness manipulation). Based on this information, the judges used
a five-point scale (1 = Failed to 5 = Outstanding) to rate the residents performance in diagnosing
and treating the correct diagnosis of blood loss. The ICC(2) between the two judges was .95,
indicating strong agreement, so their scores were aggregated to form a single score, where higher
scores indicated greater separation from the anchor and treatment of the correct ailment (blood
loss).
Perspective taking. Perspective taking was measured using the 7-item scale developed by
Davis (1980) (1 = Strongly disagree to 7 = Strongly agree). Sample items included I believe there
are two sides to every question and try to look at them both (α = .72).
Negative arousal. Negative arousal was measured using items taken from the negative
affect subscale of the Positive and Negative Affect ScheduleX (Watson & Clark, 1999) on a
scale ranging from 1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much. As recommended by Watson and Clark
(1999), we measured state-negative arousal by using short-term instructions (i.e., indicate the
extent to which you feel this way right now). Sample items included angry, hostile,
irritable, scornful, disgusted, and loathing (α = .87).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 23
Rudeness manipulation check. Because this study was conducted within the context of
a medical simulation, we felt that an explicit manipulation check might make residents self-
conscious and suspicious (e.g., Isen & Erez, 2007). Therefore, we tested the effectiveness of our
rudeness manipulation in supplemental analyses using a different sample of 104 participants
(Mage = 30.68, SDage = 9.45; 54.81% male) recruited from Amazons Mechanical Turk (MTurk).
We randomly selected and deidentified five recordings from the control condition and five
recordings from the rudeness condition. Participants were randomly assigned in a between-
subjects design to watch only the manipulation portion (and not the entire simulation) of one of
these recordings. After viewing the recording, participants were asked to rate the rudeness of the
confederates using the same six-item scale used in the pilot study (α=.95; Foulk et al., 2016).
Results and Discussion
To determine whether our experimental manipulation of rudeness was effective, we
conducted an ANOVA with the rudeness condition as the independent variable and the rudeness
manipulation check as the dependent variable. The ANOVA (Mcontrol = 2.30, SDcontrol = .97;
Mrudeness = 5.85, SDrudeness = .93; F(1, 103) = 361.82, p < .01) provided evidence that the rudeness
manipulation had the intended effect. Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations for all
study variables are reported in Table 4.
To test our theoretical model, we first used Hayes (2017) PROCESS SPSS macro
(version 3.5, Model 4mediation) with 5,000 resamples to estimate the indirect effect of
rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal. The results showed that rudeness was marginally
related to negative arousal (B = .36, p = .06), providing initial support for Hypothesis 1. Negative
arousal was negatively and significantly related to the anchoring measure (B = .72, p < .05),
supporting Hypothesis 2. The indirect effect was significant at a 90% confidence level (.26,
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 24
90% CI [.60, .01], providing marginal support for Hypothesis 3. However, these results should
be interpreted with caution because they do not account for residents perspective taking, which
we expect to be a boundary condition for the relationship between rudeness and anchoring.
Next, we estimated a model including the moderating effect of perspective taking
(PROCESS SPSS macro Model 7 first stage moderated mediation; Hayes, 2017). The results of
this model, which are presented in Table 5, show that the relationship between rudeness and
negative arousal was positive and significant (B = 3.30, p < .05) and negative arousal was
negatively and significantly related to the anchoring measure (B = .72, p < .05). Furthermore, the
relationship between rudeness and negative arousal was qualified by a significant interaction with
perspective taking (B = .81, p < .05). A JohnsonNeyman significance region analysis (Johnson
& Fay, 1950) showed that for residents with a perspective-taking score less than 3.76
(approximately 40% of the sample), the relationship between rudeness and negative arousal was
positive and significant; however, for residents with a perspective-taking score of 3.76 or greater
(approximately 60% of the sample), this relationship was non-significant. These results indicate
that perspective taking weakened the positive relationship between rudeness and negative arousal,
providing support for Hypothesis 4.
Next, we calculated the index of moderated mediation coefficient to determine whether the
indirect effect via negative arousal was moderated by perspective taking. As shown in Table 5, the
index of moderated mediation was significant (.58, 95% CI [.017, 1.328]). For participants low in
perspective taking (1 SD), the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal was
significant (.46, 95% CI [1.075, .018]). In contrast, for participants high in perspective taking
(+1 SD), the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal was not significant (.04,
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 25
95% CI [.231, .328]). Thus, the results suggested that perspective taking weakened the indirect
effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal, supporting Hypothesis 5.
The results of Study 1 provide support for our theoretical model, showing that rudeness is
positively related to negative arousal (Hypothesis 1), and that negative arousal is positively
associated with the tendency to engage in anchoring (Hypothesis 2) and mediates the indirect
effect of rudeness on anchoring (Hypothesis 3). Furthermore, we found evidence that perspective
taking moderates the effect of rudeness on negative arousal (Hypothesis 4) and the indirect effect
of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal (Hypothesis 5). In Study 2, we build on these results
to test the effects of rudeness-induced negative arousal on anchoring in a different context using a
different operationalization of anchoring, as well as by operationalizing perspective taking as an
exogenous intervention rather than as an individual difference.
Study 2
Participants
In Study 2, we recruited 427 English-speaking U.S. residents from Qualtrics online
panels and sample services, each of whom was compensated $8 for their participation. Prior to
performing the analysis, we excluded 8 participants due to issues with playing or hearing the
recordings used as the rudeness exposure, 4 participants for failing to accurately attend to
attention checks, and 1 participant for failure to provide complete information for all study
variables. The final sample of 414 participants (response rate of 96.96%) ranged in age from 18
to 65 years old (Mage = 46.70, SDage = 13.47); of the sample, 22.9% were male.
Procedure
This study was approved by University of Florida IRB (Title: Trapped by a First
Diagnosis: How Rudeness Can Lead to Errors in Diagnosing Disease and Injury; Study
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 26
#IRB201901639). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (control
or rudeness) by 2 (neutral or perspective-taking intervention) between-subjects experimental
design. After completing the consent form, participants were informed that the purpose of this
study was to explore the effects of job events on work-related tasks. Motowidlo and colleagues
(Johnson et al., 2002; Kiker & Motowidlo, 1999; Mero & Motowidlo, 1995) have suggested that
taking the role of a person in a simulated organization and having the participant perform
multiple tasks in an in-basket simulation may diminish problems associated with laboratory
studies (see Mero & Motowidlo, 1995). Accordingly, our participants were told that the study
would be run as a workplace simulation, during which they would assume the role of Leslie
Wilder, a shift manager of a team of employees at a local bookstore. Participants were told that
their usual tasks as a shift manager involved responding to emails and overseeing the employees
of the store, and that during this study they would be asked to complete a series of work-related
tasks. They were also informed that while performing various tasks, periodically they would be
asked to listen to recordings of interactions between coworkers and between employees and
customers. Some of these interactions would be related to the tasks they were asked to perform,
and some would not. Next, participants completed the perspective-taking manipulation, the
rudeness manipulation, a measure of negative arousal, and the anchoring task; they were then
debriefed and dismissed.
Perspective-Taking Manipulation
Participants were told that they would be asked to complete a short narrative essay about
one of their coworkers. Following the procedure described by Todd, Galinsky, et al. (2012),
participants were shown six boxes, and were told that each box corresponded to one of their
coworkers. They were asked to choose one of the boxes, and told that their choice would
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 27
determine which coworker they wrote about. Regardless of which box they chose, participants
were told that they had selected their supervisor, Terry, and were given instructions for a short
writing task.
To manipulate perspective taking, we adapted the method developed by Batson et al.
(2003) and employed by Galinsky and colleagues (Galinsky & Ku, 2004; Galinsky &
Moskowitz, 2000; Ku et al., 2010; Todd, Bodenhausen, et al., 2012). Specifically, participants
were told that they would complete a short narrative essay in which they would be asked to write
about a typical day in Terrys life. In the control condition, the instructions read: Imagine a day
in the life of this individual as if you were an objective observer, observing him as he goes about
a normal day. In your narrative try to clearly and vividly visualize what this person does during
the day. In other words, dont get caught up in what he might be thinking, feeling, and
experiencing; only focus on his objective activities. In the intervention condition, the
instructions were: Imagine a day in the life of this individual as if you were that person, looking
at the world through his eyes and walking through the world in his shoes. In your narrative try to
clearly and vividly visualize what this person might be thinking, feeling, and experiencing during
the day. In other words, focus on what it would be like to be this person.
Rudeness Manipulation
In the next stage, participants were told that due to an unanticipated traffic jam, they had
arrived late for their shift at the bookstore that morning. In the control condition their supervisor
discussed their lateness in a neutral manner, and in the rudeness condition their supervisor
reprimanded them for their lateness in a rude manner (see Appendix 3).
Measures
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 28
Negative arousal. State negative arousal was assessed using items from Watson et al.
(1988) Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Participants responded to each item on
a scale ranging from 1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much, and sample items included upset,
distressed, irritable, and hostile (α = .91).
Anchoring. Anchoring was assessed using items taken from Strack and Mussweiler
(1997) anchoring task. Specifically, participants were presented with five general knowledge
questions, and each question was presented twice. First, the general knowledge question was
presented with an anchor, and asked participants to decide if the true value was greater or smaller
than this anchor (e.g., What is the length of the Mississippi River? Is it longer or shorter than
2,000 miles?). Then, the same question was shown again, and participants were asked to give
their own exact estimate (e.g., What is the length of the Mississippi River? What is your exact
estimate?).
To create our measure of anchoring, we followed the steps specified by Strack and
Mussweiler (1997). First, we calculated the absolute difference between each participants exact
estimate and the anchor. Second, we standardized each question across the entire sample (as
different questions had different units of measure). Finally, we averaged the standardized scores
of the five questions to form a measure of anchoring for each participant, where higher scores
indicated the absence of anchoring.
Manipulation check for perspective taking. Three research assistants were trained to
code the narratives that participants wrote as part of the perspective-taking manipulation.
Specifically, they coded each narrative using a behavioral-anchored rating scale similar to the
ones developed by Motowidlo and Van Scotter (1994); on this 1 to 7 scale, scores of 12 are
considered low perspective taking, 35 are moderate perspective taking, and 67 are high
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 29
perspective taking.
2
The ICC(2) between the three coders was .82, indicating strong agreement;
thus, the scores were aggregated to form a single measure of perspective taking.
Manipulation check for rudeness. We used the same rudeness manipulation check
items as in the pilot study and Study 1 (Cronbach’s α=.95; Foulk et al., 2016)
Results and Discussion
To determine whether our experimental manipulations created the intended conditions for
the study, we conducted a two-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with the
rudeness and perspective-taking manipulations as the independent variables, and the rudeness
and perspective-taking manipulation checks as the dependent variables. In line with our
expectations, the MANOVA suggested that the rudeness factor was significant (F(2, 409) =
112.80, p < .001), as was the perspective-taking factor (F(2, 409) = 41.76, p < .001); however,
the interaction was not significant (F(2, 409) = .16, p = .85). Univariate analyses indicated that
the rudeness manipulation significantly influenced participants perception of the rudeness of the
supervisor in the simulation (Mcontrol = 3.28, SDcontrol = 1.17; Mrudeness = 5.26, SDrudeness = 1.50;
F(1, 410) = 224.30, p < .001), but not participants perspective-taking behavior (Mcontrol = 2.68,
SDcontrol = 1.63; Mrudeness = 2.47, SDrudeness = 1.63; F(1, 410) = 1.83, p = .18). The perspective-
taking manipulation significantly influenced participants perspective-taking behavior (Mneutral =
1.91, SDneutral = 1.14; Mperspective-taking = 3.25, SDperspective-taking = 1.78; F(1, 410) = 83.59, p < .001),
but not the participants perception of the rudeness of the bookstores supervisor (Mneutral = 4.32,
SDneutral = 1.71; Mperspective-taking = 4.26, SDperspective-taking = 1.64; F(1, 410) = .13, p = .72).
2
The low perspective-taking anchor was exhibited little understanding of the bookstore managers experiences in a
typical workday, did not appear to consider the managers viewpoint, objectively focused on what the manager was
doing in terms of concrete duties and/or actions.The high perspective-taking anchor was exhibited understanding
of the bookstore managers behaviors and experiences in a typical workday, integrated the managers viewpoint in
their response, conveyed detailed awareness of how things look from the managers perspective beyond duties
and/or actions.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 30
Table 6 presents the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among study
variables. To test the mediation hypotheses of our model, we used Hayes (2017) PROCESS
SPSS macro (version 3.5, Model 4mediation) with 5,000 resamples. The results indicated that
rudeness was significantly related to negative arousal (B = .63, p < .001), supporting Hypothesis
1. Negative arousal was negatively and significantly related to the anchoring measure (B = .06,
p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 2. The indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative
arousal was negative and significant [.03, 95% CI (.073, .005)], supporting Hypothesis 3.
We tested the moderated-mediation effect of rudeness on anchoringthat is, mediated by
negative arousal and moderated by perspective takingusing the PROCESS SPSS macro
(Model 8 - first stage moderated-mediation; Hayes, 2017) with 5,000 resamples. As shown in
Table 7, rudeness was significantly related to negative arousal (B = .98, p < .001), and negative
arousal was negatively related to the anchoring measure (B = .05, p < .05). Furthermore, the
relationship between rudeness and negative arousal was qualified by a significant interaction
with perspective taking (B = .72, p = .001), supporting Hypothesis 4. The index of the
moderated-mediation coefficient (.03, 95% CI [.002, .080]) was significant. In the neutral
condition (i.e., no perspective taking), there was a significant indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring through negative arousal, as the confidence interval for the indirect effect did not
contain zero (95% CI [.102, .003]). In contrast, in the perspective-taking condition, there was
no indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal (95% CI [.039, .003]). Thus,
perspective taking weakened the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal,
supporting Hypothesis 5.
In summary, consistent with the results of Study 1, Study 2 provided evidence that
rudeness is related to negative arousal (Hypothesis 1), negative arousal is related to the tendency
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 31
to engage in anchoring (Hypothesis 2), and negative arousal mediates the indirect effect of
rudeness on anchoring (Hypothesis 3). Furthermore, Study 2 provided evidence for the
moderating effect of perspective taking on the relationship between rudeness and anchoring
(Hypothesis 4), and on the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal
(Hypothesis 5). In the next study, we build on these results by testing our model in a negotiation
context, while considering information elaboration as a moderator of the relationship between
rudeness and negative arousal, and subsequent anchoring.
Study 3
Participants
In Study 3, we recruited 202 participants from Amazons Mechanical Turk (MTurk),
each of whom was compensated $4 for their participation. Prior to performing the analysis, we
excluded 2 participants who failed attention checks and 3 participants who provided text
responses that could not be translated into quantitative counteroffers (the dependent variable).
The remaining 197 participants (response rate of 97.52%) ranged in age from 18 to 65 years
(Mage = 38.01, SDage = 11.11), and 55.8% were male.
Procedure
This study was approved by University of Florida IRB (Title: Trapped by a First
Diagnosis: How Rudeness Can Lead to Errors in Diagnosing Disease and Injury #2; Study
#IRB201902967). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (control
or rudeness) by 2 (control or information-elaboration intervention) between-subjects
experimental design. Similar to Study 2, after completing the consent form, participants were
informed that the purpose of this study was to explore the effects of job events on work- related
tasks. They were given the same information about the bookstore and its employees as in Study
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 32
2. Following the description of the studys bookstore setting, the simulation began, and
participants took part in the rudeness manipulation.
Participants were then asked to engage in a negotiation task, in which a professor in the
management department at the university asked them to negotiate with a textbook publisher over
the price of an e-book version of a book the professor intended to use in their class. Similar to
typical negotiation exercises, they were given information about their target point, reservation
point, the textbook publisher, and their motivation to reach an agreement (see Appendix 4).
Participants then were given either the information-elaboration intervention or the control
condition. After completing a negative arousal questionnaire, they were instructed to start the
negotiation and were told that the publisher made a first offer of $225 per e-book. This offer
served as the anchor, as multiple studies have shown that first offers can anchor negotiation
results (Galinsky et al., 2009; Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001; Northcraft & Neale, 1987).
Participants then reported several demographic measures and manipulation checks, were thanked
for their participation, and debriefed.
Rudeness Manipulation
At the beginning of the simulation, participants were told that their manager had asked
them to work the cash register. While working the cash register, a customer approached and
asked about the price of a book, because the customer could not find a price tag. Participants
were told that they showed the customer the price tag and told him the book was $13.
Participants then listened to a voice recording of the customers response; the customer
responded in either a neutral or a rude manner, which served as our rudeness manipulation (for
details, see Appendix 5).
Information-Elaboration Manipulation
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 33
We were interested in developing an intervention that would encourage individuals to
focus on the details of the task at hand in an effort to divert attention away from the emotionally
laden aspects of their exposure to rudeness. To do so, we built on the elaboration-likelihood
model (Kitchen et al., 2014; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Petty et al., 1981), which indicates that
message elaboration generates a great amount of cognition. Thus, to enhance participants ability
to generate information, we developed an information-elaboration intervention that asked them
to think about three pieces of information that they would like to get from the publisher before
they decided to make a counteroffer to the publisher. Previous literature has shown that these
types of small interventions can be highly effective (e.g., Bono et al., 2013; Lanaj et al., 2019;
Seligman et al., 2005). Participants were asked to write these three questions down. To ensure
that the observed effects were not due to merely writing (Lanaj et al., 2019), in the control
condition participants were told that before they negotiated with the publisher they should
consider and write down how they would organize books in the store.
Measures
Negative arousal. Similar to Study 2, state negative arousal was assessed using items
from the Watson et al. (1988) PANAS instrument. Participants were asked to rate the items on a
scale ranging from 1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much, and sample items included “upset,”
“distressed,” “irritable,” and “hostile” (α = .92).
Anchoring. Similar to Galinsky and Mussweiler (2001), we operationalized anchoring as
the absolute difference between the participant’s counteroffer and the publishers offer of $225,
with larger values indicating absence of anchoring.
Manipulation check for information elaboration. We developed three items to capture
participants elaborated thoughts about the negotiation task: I thought of information that helped
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 34
me determine my counteroffer, I thought of information that helped me achieve my goals from
the negotiation, and I thought of information that was important for the success of the
negotiation (1 = Not at all to 7 = Very much so; α = .86).
Manipulation check for rudeness. At the end of the simulation, participants answered
the same manipulation check questions as were used in the pilot study and Studies 1 and 2
(α=.94; Foulk et al., 2016).
Results and Discussion
To determine whether our experimental conditions created the intended effects, we
conducted a MANOVA with the rudeness and information-elaboration manipulations as the
independent variables, and the rudeness and information-elaboration manipulation checks as the
dependent variables. In line with our expectations, the rudeness factor was significant (F(2, 192)
= 75.82, p < .001), as was the information elaboration factor (F(2, 192) = 9.66, p < .001).
However, the interaction was not significant (F(2, 192) = .16, p = .85). Univariate analyses
results indicated that the rudeness manipulation significantly influenced participants perception
of the rudeness of the bookstores customers in the simulation (Mcontrol = 2.85, SDcontrol = 1.16;
Mrudeness = 4.95, SDrudeness = 1.23; F(1, 193) = 153.60, p < .001), but not the information-
elaboration measure (Mcontrol = 5.41, SDcontrol = 1.22; Mrudeness = 5.36, SDrudeness = 1.03; F(1, 193)
= .12, p = .74). The information-elaboration manipulation significantly influenced participants
information-elaboration behavior (Mcontrol = 5.05, SDcontrol = 1.24; Minformation = 5.73, SDinformation =
.90; F(1, 193) = 19.04, p < .001), but not the participants perception of the rudeness of the
bookstores customers (Mcontrol = 3.81, SDcontrol = 1.57; Minformation = 3.89, SDinformation = 1.62; F(1,
193) = .22, p = .64).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 35
Table 8 presents the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among the study
variables. To test the mediation hypotheses of our model, we used the PROCESS SPSS macro
(version 3.5, Model 4 mediation; Hayes, 2017) with 5,000 resamples. The results showed that
rudeness was significantly related to negative arousal (B = .40, p <.01), supporting Hypothesis 1,
and that negative arousal was negatively and significantly related to the anchoring measure (B =
5.95, p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 2. Furthermore, the indirect effect was negative and
significant (2.37; 95% CI [5.156, .336]), supporting Hypothesis 3.
We tested the moderated-mediation effect of rudeness on anchoringthat is, mediated by
negative arousal and moderated by information sharingusing the PROCESS SPSS macro
(Model 8 - first stage moderated-mediation; Hayes, 2017) with 5,000 resamples. Table 9 shows
that rudeness significantly increased negative arousal (B = .71, p < .001), and that negative
arousal was negatively related to the anchoring measure (B = 6.06, p < .05). Additionally, the
relationship between rudeness and negative arousal was qualified by a significant interaction
with information elaboration (B = .62, p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 6. The index of
moderated-mediation coefficient was significant (3.76, 95% CI [.053, 9.162]). In the control
condition, the confidence interval for the indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative
arousal did not contain zero (95% CI [9.640, .303]); however, in the information-elaboration
condition, this confidence interval did contain zero (95% CI [2.744, 1.184]), supporting
Hypothesis 7.
In summary, in Study 3 we found further evidence that rudeness is associated with
negative arousal (Hypothesis 1), that negative arousal is associated with the tendency to engage
in anchoring (Hypothesis 2), and that negative arousal mediates the indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring (Hypothesis 3). Additionally, we found that information elaboration moderates the
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 36
effect of rudeness on negative arousal (Hypothesis 6) and the indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring via negative arousal (Hypothesis 7).
Discussion
Drawing from the self-immersion framework (Ayduk & Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk,
2017) and the SAM (Mussweiler & Strack, 1999; Strack & Mussweiler, 1997), we hypothesized
that rudeness-induced negative arousal would mediate the indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring, and that perspective taking and information elaboration would moderate these
relationships. In four studies, we found support for our theoretical expectations across a variety
of contexts and anchoring tasks. In the pilot study, we found support for the general expectation
that rudeness would be associated with anchoring among medical students diagnosing a patient.
In Study 1, we found that rudeness-induced negative arousal mediated the effect of rudeness on
anchoring, and that perspective taking moderated the effect of rudeness on negative arousal and
subsequent anchoring among medical residents treating a patient. Study 2 replicated these results
using a common anchoring task, and Study 3 provided evidence that information elaboration also
moderated the effect of rudeness on negative arousal and subsequent anchoring in a negotiation
setting. Collectively, these four studies provide evidence that rudeness is associated with
anchoring, articulate the process that causes rudeness to lead to anchoring, and demonstrate steps
that individuals and organizations can take to weaken the indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring.
Theoretical Implications
Our work makes several important theoretical contributions to the domains of anchoring
and organizational rudeness. First, the literature regarding the consequences of exposure to
rudeness has clearly demonstrated that such behavior reduces individuals capacity to perform
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 37
effectively (Chen et al., 2013; Porath & Erez, 2007, 2009; Rafaeli et al., 2012; Riskin et al.,
2019; Riskin et al., 2015; Riskin et al., 2017; Sliter et al., 2012; Woolum et al., 2017). Our study
adds to this literature by showing that the consequences of exposure to rudeness exceed the
classification of reduced performance, and lead to judgment biases. This relationship is
particularly problematic because biases in judgment are typically held with substantial
confidence and individuals are generally unaware of their influence on decision making
(Kahneman & Klein, 2009). For example, physicians exposed to rudeness may incorrectly treat
patients for ailments they do not have, while being unaware of their erroneous diagnosis or the
reasons underlying it. By investigating these linkages, our work expands the domain of outcomes
associated with encounters with rudeness and demonstrates how dangerous these minor and
seemingly innocuous behaviors can be.
Second, while anchoring is one of the most robust and commonly observed decision-
making biases (Mussweiler, 2001), with only a few exceptions (Critcher & Gilovich, 2008; Ku et
al., 2006), research on contextual antecedences of anchoring has been limited. This scarce
research has tended to focus on individual differences, such as possession of special knowledge,
experience, cognitive ability (intelligence), and personality traits (Furnham & Boo, 2011;
Loschelder et al., 2016), but has ignored situational factors that can increase the likelihood of
anchoring. Our study contributes to this decision-making literature by demonstrating how even
small, everyday negative social interactions can have a significant effect on anchoring by causing
negative arousal in a way that exacerbates the tendency to narrow ones focus. This finding
highlights the need to consider not only dispositional factors, but also situational factors and their
emotional responses as antecedents of the anchoring bias.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 38
Finally, by highlighting negative arousal as an underlying mechanism that explains the
effect of rudeness on anchoring, our study articulates theoretically driven and practical methods
to counter anchoring in a variety of situations. Despite the fact that anchoring has been
demonstrated to have a pervasive and robust effect on human decision making (Mussweiler,
2001), efforts to reduce or prevent the effects of anchoring have been sparse, and have produced
mixed results (Mussweiler et al., 2000). While some researchers have offered strategies to
combat the anchoring effect in negotiation settings (Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001; Majer et al.,
2019), these methods are neither easily generalizable nor immediately applicable to other work-
related contexts (Jung & Young, 2012; Schaerer et al.). Indeed, scholars have recently called for
more research exploring factors that can attenuate anchoring effects (Critcher & Gilovich, 2008;
Englich et al., 2005; Mussweiler et al., 2000; Shalvi et al., 2010; Sinaceur et al., 2013). In
response to this call, our work identifies two generalizable, practical, and easily implementable
interventionsperspective taking and information elaborationthat can help counter the
indirect effect of rudeness on anchoring via negative arousal.
Practical Implications
In demonstrating that encounters with rudeness cause anchoring, our work highlights the
need for managers and organizations to diligently take steps to reduce rudeness among
employees, particularly in high-stakes situations where the consequences of judgment errors
associated with anchoring can be catastrophic. However, beyond simply highlighting the
consequences of rudeness, our work provides some rays of hope by identifying steps that
organizations can take to mitigate these effects. In two of our studies, perspective taking,
whether it was dispositional or a deliberate intervention, reduced the effect of rudeness on
negative arousal and subsequent anchoring. Thus, organizations may want to consider training
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 39
employees in perspective taking to better equip them to deal with the pernicious effects of
exposure to rudeness.
In Study 3, we showed that information elaboration can also counter the effects of
rudeness on anchoring. This result suggests that when individuals encounter rudeness or
disruptive behaviors, they may better insulate themselves from making judgment errors by
focusing on the task at hand, asking more questions, or possibly thinking about which
information they would like to seek to address the problem at hand. Thus, our findings provide
important insights highlighting active steps that managers and organizations can take to mitigate
the negative consequences associated with rudeness. Understanding the factors that can prevent
the effects of rudeness on anchoring may have important implications for a variety of
organizational situations, as anchoring has been demonstrated to affect decisions in numerous
contexts, such as negotiations, legal sentencing, financial forecasts, social exchange
relationships, and pricing decisions (Ballinger & Rockmann, 2010; Campbell & Sharpe, 2009;
Cen et al., 2013; Englich et al., 2005; Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001).
Limitations and Future Directions
As is the case with all research, this paper is not without its limitations. First, guided by
the SAM (Mussweiler & Strack, 1999; Strack & Mussweiler, 1997), we focused on the effect of
rudeness on the anchoring bias, but rudeness might influence other biases as well. In medical
situations, many other heuristics and biases may contribute to diagnostic errors and subsequent
patient injuries and deaths (Croskerry, 2002; Mamede et al., 2010; Stiegler et al., 2011; Tokuda
et al., 2011). Furthermore, anchoring seems to be related to other biases in decision making, such
as over-attribution (Leyens et al., 1996; Quattrone, 1982) and hindsight (Pohl & Hell, 1996).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 40
Thus, if rudeness exacerbates anchoring, it could affect many other decision-making biases, and
we encourage future work to consider the potential effect of rudeness on these biases.
Second, our theoretical model, guided by the self-immersion framework (Ayduk &
Kross, 2010; Kross & Ayduk, 2017), focused on rudeness-induced negative arousal as a
mediating process that can explain the effect of rudeness on anchoring. While this theoretically
motivated mediator helps us better understand why rudeness causes anchoring, we recognize that
other processes might potentially be associated with this relationship. Research has suggested
that rudeness may be depleting or distracting (Porath & Erez, 2007; Rafaeli et al., 2012; Rosen et
al., 2016), and such distractions might increase the tendency to engage in judgment biases.
Additionally, prior research has suggested that processes such as helping behaviors (Riskin et al.,
2015; Riskin et al., 2017) and workload sharing (Riskin et al., 2017) can help explain the effect
of rudeness on performance. While our focal dependent variable was anchoring bias and not
suboptimal performance, several of these processes might also help explain why rudeness leads
to systematic judgment errors. Thefore, we encourage future research that extends our work by
considering additional mediating mechanisms.
Third, while we focused on perspective taking and information elaboration as moderators
of the relationship between rudeness and negative arousal (and subsequent anchoring), we
recognize that other dispositional and contextual factors may also influence this relationship. For
example, dispositional variables that influence how individuals see others in the social
environment, such as empathy, may exacerbate the effect of rudeness on anchoring by
strengthening the narrowing effect of encounters with rudeness among those individuals.
Experience may be another variable of interest, as persons who are more experienced may
naturally engage in more information elaboration and apply other methods to counter the effects
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 41
of anchoring. While exploring additional moderators falls outside the scope of the current paper,
we encourage future research to consider these interesting possibilities.
Fourth, in our rudeness manipulation in Study 1, the confederate in the rude condition
was a fellow doctor, but the confederate in the control condition was a lab technician, potentially
raising concerns that the status of the actor may have influenced our results. To assuage this
concern, in Study 2 we held the status of the confederate constant in both conditions, and in
Study 3 the rudeness manipulation was enacted by a customer with no clear status differences
from the participant. While the combined results of our package of studies consistently support
the effect of rudeness on anchoring through negative arousal, we recognize that the role or status
of the rude actor may be important to consider, and we encourage future studies to explore this
interesting possibility.
Another interesting possibility to consider would be the source of rudeness. Research has
shown that medical professionals performance is impaired when they experience rudeness from
patients family members and other medical professionals (Riskin et al., 2015; Riskin et al.,
2017). Similarly, Study 3 showed that rudeness from a customer affected anchoring in a similar
manner to rudeness from a supervisor (Study 2) or a colleague (Study 1). Thus, it may be
informative to consider the effect of rudeness from patients themselves. Medical professionals
have a duty to provide the best care to their patients, so exploring how acts of rudeness exhibited
by patients may impair this duty, and which interventions can be offered to mitigate these risks,
may be a particularly fruitful avenue for future research.
Finally, in the medical studies (pilot study and Study 1), we operationalized anchoring as
no change between the initial incorrect diagnosis and the final diagnosis. Although this measure
has been previously used to indicate anchoring in medical research (Croskerry, 2003), it differs
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 42
from the traditional measures of anchoring, which measure the anchor as the quantitative
difference between the anchor and the judgment target (Jacowitz & Kahneman, 1995). While the
results of our studies were consistent across these different operationalizations of anchoring, we
encourage future research to consider whether rudeness has differential impacts on these
disparate manifestations of anchoring.
Conclusions
While minor insults and other forms of rudeness might seem benign and harmless, our
findings suggest that even minor rude events can cause negative arousal that severely interferes
with individuals decision-making processes, anchoring physicians to a first incorrect diagnosis
and negotiators to suboptimal results, and affecting quantitative judgment of targets. While our
findings highlight the dangers associated with experiencing rudeness, our work also suggests
some positive strategies, providing steps that organizations and employees can take to counteract
these negative effects. Specifically, perspective-taking and information elaboration can mitigate
the destructive effects of rudeness on negative arousal and subsequent anchoring, so simple
interventions in these critical domains may be highly impactful.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 43
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Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 51
Appendix
Manipulation Materials and Measures
Manipulation Materials in Pilot Study
Rudeness Manipulation
In both conditions, the participants heard the following interaction between the attending they
were shadowing (Bill) and another doctor via an audio recording. Specifically, in the control
condition they heard the following:
DOCTOR: Billwhat happened the other day? I thought we had an appointment to
meet, but you didnt come.
BILL: Youre rightoh my goodnessI totally forgot.
DOCTOR: OkayI just wanted to make sure it wasnt me that messed up the time.
You said you wanted mentoring, so I was concerned when you didnt come.
BILL: Oh, my gosh, I am really sorry it was so crazy here at the ED and it just
slipped my mind. Can you just give me 10 or 15 … 15 minutes.
DOCTOR: Unfortunately, I cant do it right now, and Im leaving for a conference
later today.
BILL: Okaymaybe after that then.
DOCTOR: Well see.
In the rudeness condition, they heard the following:
DOCTOR: Bill! What are you doing?! You made an appointment to see me in my
office this morning. I waited an hour and you never showed up, you never called, you
never told me you werent going to be there. Who do you think I am, just somebody
who has nothing better to do than to sit around and wait for you?
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 52
BILL: Well, we
DOCTOR: You were the one who wanted mentoring, but I dont think you need a
mentor nearly as much as you need a babysitter to help you salvage whatevers left of
your pathetic career.
BILL: Can you just give me 10 or 15 … 15 minutes
DOCTOR: No, I wasted enough time. Im outta here.
BILL: Ill meet you in your office in 10 minutes okay?
DOCTOR: No.
Measures in Pilot Study
Anchoring (Self-developed, items presented one at a time, and final diagnosis could be
entered at any time)
Patient description: 55 year old male patient presents to the emergency department with chest
discomfort. His 19 year old daughter is afraid that he is having heart attack.
1. Patient smokes a half a pack a day but thinks it is actually been much less.
2. Patient does not have any history of heart disease.
3. Patient doesn’t believe he has a kidney issues.
4. The ECG has been ordered and is pending.
5. Patient recently took a promotion with additional stresses and responsibilities.
6. Patient has a history of Diabetes for 20 years that is diet controlled.
7. Patient has clear breath sounds.
8. Patient thinks resting quietly helps the discomfort go away.
9. The discomfort is very worrisome and makes him feel nauseated.
10. Patient has a history of high cholesterol.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 53
11. Patient has history of high blood pressure.
12. The Patient’s father died from a heart attack in his fifties.
13. Came on a few times the last month usually in the morning and at nighttime.
14. Mostly located in the center of the chest and is very uncomfortable, and can’t find a good
position to alleviate it and last for 10-20 minutes.
15. The patient has recently been more physically active because of recent home move.
16. The Patient thinks the discomfort may occur more often after eating.
17. There is not point tenderness on palpation.
18. Doesn’t believe NSAIDS improve the discomfort but only tried once.
19. Spicy foods might aggravate it, but doesn’t eat spicy foods all that often.
20. The patient frequently has brackish water taste in his mouth.
21. Patient drinks a 2-3 cups of coffee each day.
22. Patient has a history of a hiatal hernia.
23. The discomfort might be worse when lying flat.
24. Troponins are ordered and pending.
What is your final diagnosis? _________
Rudeness manipulation check (6 Items from Foulk et al., 2016)
1. He treated others in a polite manner (reverse-coded)
2. He treated others with dignity and respect (reverse-coded)
3. He refrained from improper remarks and comments (reverse-coded)
4. He hurt others’ feelings
5. He made the people in the room feel angry as a result of his treatment of them
6. He insulted the other people in the room
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 54
(1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree; α=.92)
Manipulation Materials in Study 1
Rudeness Manipulation
In the control condition, the simulation lab technician told the experimenter in a loud voice that
he missed a meeting with Dr. XXX and that Dr. XXX asked him to give him call. In the rudeness
condition, Dr. XXX arrived in the simulation lab and chided the experimenter for missing their
meeting. Specifically, Dr. XXX said in a loud and angry voice: YYY! What are you doing?!
You made an appointment to see me in my office this morning. I waited an hour and you never
showed up. Who do you think I am, just somebody who has nothing better to do than to sit
around and wait for you? You were the one who wanted mentoring, but I dont think you need a
mentor nearly as much as you need a babysitter to help you salvage whatevers left of your
pathetic career. Dr. XXX then stormed out of the room.
Measures in Study 1
Perspective taking (7 Item measure from Davis, 1980)
1. Before criticizing somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in his/her place
2. If I’m sure I’m right about something, I don’t waste much time listening to other people’s
arguments (reverse-coded)
3. I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their
perspective
4. I believe that there are two sides to every question and try to look at them both
5. I sometimes find it difficult to see things from the “other guy’s” point of view (reverse-
coded)
6. I try to look at everybody’s side of a disagreement before I make a decision
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 55
7. When I’m upset at someone, I usually try to “put myself in his shoes” for a while
(1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree)
Negative Arousal (6 Items from the Positive and Negative Affect ScheduleX Watson &
Clark, 1999)
1. Angry
2. Hostile
3. Irritable
4. Scornful
5. Disgusted
6. Loathing
(1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much; α=.87)
Rudeness manipulation check (6 Items from Foulk et al., 2016)
Same as in Pilot study, reported by a separate MTurk sample based on recordings.
(1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree; α=.95)
Manipulation Materials in Study 2
Rudeness Manipulation
In the control condition, an audio recording told the participant: Hi, Leslie. Unfortunately, you
missed the morning briefing because you were late. I dont have time to go over it right now
because I have another meeting shortly, but if we catch up later, I can give you an update. Next,
after being told that they explained why they were late to work, they heard a second recoding
say, Well, Leslie, you should probably plan better and not leave your house so late. You missed
an important meeting, and its really not acceptable.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 56
In the rudeness condition, the first recording was: What is this? How can you miss the
morning briefing, be this late and just walk in? What is wrong with you? We started over half an
hour ago! Look at you … I don’t even know how you expect to keep your job with this type of
behavior. I dont want to talk about it; just go to your desk and get to work. Here as well, after
participants were told that they explained why they were late to work, they heard a second
recoding say, Its really not my problem that you cant plan ahead for the life of you. You
shouldnt have left your house so late. You missed an important meeting and your obnoxious
behavior is totally irresponsible. You better get your act together, because youre really starting
to piss me off.
Measures in Study 2
Negative Arousal (4 items from Watson et al., 1988)
1. Upset
2. Distressed
3. Irritable
4. Hostile
(1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much; α=.91)
Anchoring (5 Items from Strack & Mussweiler, 1997)
Anchor
Real Value
2,000
2,348
45,500
29,029
6,000
2,903
550
300
80
41.67
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 57
Perspective taking manipulation check (Self-developed, rated by research assistants blind
to the design, based on participants’ responses to the perspective taking manipulation)
Examples used for a score of 1-2 (LOW):
Exhibited little understanding of the bookstore manager’s experiences in a typical work
day.
Did not appear to consider the manager’s view point; wrote their response in third-person
(as if they were an observer writing about the manager)
Objectively focused on what the manager was doing in terms of concrete duties and/or
actions.
Examples used for a score of 6-7 (HIGH):
Exhibited understanding of the bookstore manager’s behaviors and experiences in a
typical work day.
Integrated the manager’s viewpoint in their response; Wrote from the manager’s point of
view (First-person, as if they were the manager)
Conveyed detailed awareness of how things look from the manager’s perspective, beyond
duties and/or actions.
(1 to 7 scale, scores of 12 are considered low perspective taking, 35 are moderate perspective
taking, and 67 are high perspective taking; ICC(2)=.82).
Rudeness manipulation check (6 Items from Foulk et al., 2016)
Same as in Pilot study, reported by participants.
(1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree; α=.95)
Manipulation Materials in Study 3
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 58
Negotiation Task
Prices of classroom textbooks have risen rapidly over the last ten years. In an effort to save
money for their students, many professors at your university work with the university bookstore
to secure less-expensive, e-book versions of the texts used in their classes.
Professor Jennings in the management department at your university approaches you and
asks you to negotiate with the textbook publisher over the price of an e-book version of the text
Organizational Behavior by Bussen, Gale, and Humphrey (BGH).
Before you start a negotiation with the publisher you need to consider the following
points:
The hardcopy version of the BGH textbook costs $250.
Professor Jennings will not accept a price for the e-book that is more than 80% of the
price of the hardcopy.
While Professor Jennings prefers the BGH book, if the price is not right, she will
consider using another e-book by Shao, Alterman, and Shin (SAS).
The price of the SAS e-book is $100.
The profit for your campus bookstore is fixed at $5 per e-book, and Professor Jennings
has a large class of 1000 students.
Students can purchase the SAS book directly from the publisher but have to purchase the
BGH book from the university bookstore.
You suspect that the publisher of the BGH book may be willing to sacrifice the sales of
the BGH e-book to your bookstore if the price is too low.
Rudeness Manipulation
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 59
In the control condition, an audio recording the customer said: Oh, okay. I thought it was 7
because it was on the table with the other $7 books, but I see the price tag now. $13 is a little bit
too much; I dont think Ill get it.
In the rude condition, the customer said: What kind of bookstore is this? Are you all a
bunch of idiots who work here or something? Theres a sign there saying all the books in that
area are SEVEN DOLLARS. Its not that complicatedyou put the price on a book, and thats
what it costs. It doesnt take a genius to do that, but maybe thats asking too much from someone
who works at a bookstore. Forget it; I dont want it.
Measures in Study 3
Negative Arousal (4 items from Watson et al., 1988)
Same measure used in Study 2
(1 = Not at all to 5 = Very much; α=.92)
Information elaboration manipulation check (3 Item measure, self-developed)
1. I thought of information that helped me determine my counteroffer
2. I thought of information that helped me achieve my goals from the negotiation
3. I thought of information that was important for the success of the negotiation
(1 = Not at all to 7 = Very much so; α=.86)
Rudeness manipulation check (6 Items from Foulk et al., 2016)
Same as in Pilot study, reported by participants.
(1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree; α=.94)
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 60
Table 1. Hypotheses Tested and Confirmed in the Three Studies
Study
1
Study
2
Study
3
H1: Rudeness will be positively related to negative arousal.
X
X
X
H2: Negative arousal will be positively related to anchoring.
X
X
X
H3: Negative arousal will mediate the relationship between rudeness and anchoring.
X
X
X
H4: Perspective taking will moderate the relationship between rudeness and negative
arousal, such that the rudeness positive effects on negative arousal will be reduced for
those high in perspective taking in comparison to those low in perspective taking.
X
X
H5: Perspective taking will moderate the indirect relationship between rudeness and
anchoring through negative arousal.
X
X
H6: Information elaboration will moderate the relationships between rudeness and
negative arousal, such that the rudeness effects will be reduced for those who exhibit high
information elaboration behavior in comparison to those who exhibit low information
elaboration behavior.
X
H7: Information elaboration will moderate the indirect relationships between rudeness
and anchoring through negative arousal.
X
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 61
Table 2
Means (M) and Standard Deviations (SD) by Condition, and Intercorrelations Among Pilot Study Variables
M (SD)
Control
Condition
Rudeness Condition
1
2
3
4
1.
Rudeness manipulation
.50 (.50)
2.
Age
27.90 (3.07)
28.13 (3.24)
27.66 (2.89)
-.08
3.
Number of questions asked
14.69 (7.44)
14.39 (7.54)
15.00 (7.39)
.04
.03
4.
Anchored diagnosis
.40 (.49)
.35 (.48)
.42 (.50)
.10
.00
-.48**
Note. N = 138; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness condition was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Anchored diagnosis was coded as 0 =
other diagnosis, 1 = anchor (heart attack).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 62
Table 3
Logistic Regression on the Relationship Between Rudeness and Anchoring, Pilot Study
Anchored Diagnosis
B
SE
Wald
p
Odds
Ratio
All participants included (N = 138)
Rudeness manipulation (R)
.81
.43
3.61
.058
2.25
Age
.02
.06
.14
.71
Number of questions asked
.18
.03
28.78
.00
.84
Cox and Snell R2
.25
Only participants who asked up to 23 pieces
of information included (N = 115)
Rudeness manipulation (R)
.95
.44
4.59
.032
2.58
Age
.03
.07
.17
.68
Number of questions asked
.15
.04
16.61
.00
.86
Cox and Snell R2
.19
Note. N = 138 (Rudeness = 69, Neutral = 69). Rudeness was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rudeness. Anchored Diagnosis was coded as 0 =
other diagnosis, 1 = anchor (heart attack).
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 63
Table 4
Means (M) and Standard Deviations (SD) by Condition, and Intercorrelations Among Study 1 Variables
M (SD)
Control Condition
Rudeness Condition
1
2
3
4
5
1.
Rudeness condition
.50 (.50)
2.
Year in program
1.90 (.78)
1.90 (.79)
1.90 (.79)
.00
3.
Perspective taking
3.73 (.46)
3.81 (.43)
3.66 (.48)
.16
.20
4.
Negative arousal
1.65 (.61)
1.48 (.43)
1.83 (.71)
.30
.23
.50
5.
Anchoring
2.50 (1.32)
2.80 (1.28)
2.20 (1.32)
.23
.15
.32
.37
Note. N = 40. Standard deviations are in parentheses. All correlations greater than |.45| are significant at the p < .01 level. All
correlations greater than |.32| are significant at the p < .05 level. Rudeness was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Higher numbers in the
anchoring indicate the absence of anchoring.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 64
Table 5
Moderated Mediation Effects of Perspective Taking and Negative Arousal on the Relationship
Between Rudeness and Anchoring, Study 1
Negative Arousal
Anchoring
B
SE
t
95% CI
B
SE
t
95% CI
Intercept
2.14*
1.01
2.13
[.099, 4.177]
3.86**
.58
6.66
[2.686, 5.035]
Rudeness manipulation (R)
3.30*
1.33
2.47
[.588, 6.003]
.34
.41
-.83
[1.180, .495]
Perspective taking (PT)
.17
.26
-.66
[.706, .358]
R × PT
.81*
.35
-2.28
[1.527, .090]
Negative arousal
.72*
.34
-2.09
[1.417, .021]
Conditional indirect effect of
rudeness on correct diagnostic
behavior through negative
arousal (for people with low
perspective taking)
.46*, 95% CI [1.075, .018]
Conditional indirect effect of
rudeness on correct diagnostic
behavior through negative
arousal (for people with high
perspective taking)
.04, 95% CI [.231, .328]
Index of moderated mediation
.58*, 95% CI [.017, 1.328]
R2
.39
.15
Note. N = 40; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rudeness. Higher
numbers in anchoring indicate the absence of anchoring. Confidence intervals were constructed
using bootstrap procedures with 5,000 iterations.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 65
Table 6
Means (M) and Standard Deviations (SD) by Condition, and Intercorrelations Among Study 2 Variables
M (SD)
Control
Rudeness
1
2
3
4
Neutral
Perspective
Taking
Neutral
Perspective
Taking
1.
Rudeness manipulation
.51 (.50)
2.
Perspective taking manipulation
.50 (.50)
.01
3.
Negative arousal
2.37 (1.16)
1.97 (.85)
2.18 (1.15)
2.94 (1.23)
2.43 (1.16)
.26**
.07
4.
Anchoring
.00 (.50)
.09 (.26)
.05 (.27)
.02 (.55)
.15 (.73)
.14**
.10*
.08
Note. N = 414; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness condition was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Perspective taking condition was coded as
0 = neutral, 1 = intervention. Higher numbers in the anchoring mean absence of anchoring.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 66
Table 7
Moderated Mediation Effects of Perspective Taking and Negative Arousal on the Relationship Between Rudeness and Anchoring,
Study 2
Negative Arousal
Anchoring
B
SE
t
95% CI
B
SE
t
95% CI
Intercept
1.96**
.11
17.88
[1.745, 2.176]
.01
.07
.13
[.120, .137]
Rudeness manipulation (R)
.98*
.15
6.43
[.683, 1.284]
.11
.07
1.62
[.025, .256]
Perspective taking manipulation (PT)
.17
.15
1.10
[.135, .474]
.04
.07
.61
[.094, .178]
R × PT
.72*
.22
-3.31
[1.143, .291]
.10
.10
1.03
[.092, .293]
Negative arousal
.05*
.02
-2.18
[.091, .005]
Conditional indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring through negative arousal (for
participants in the neutral perspective taking
condition)
.05*, 95% CI [.102, .003]
Conditional indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring through negative arousal (for
participants in the intervention perspective
taking condition)
.01, 95% CI [.039, .003]
Index of moderated mediation
.03*, 95% CI [.002, .080]
R2
.10
.04
Note. N = 414; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness condition was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Perspective taking condition was coded as
0 = neutral, 1 = intervention. Higher numbers in anchoring mean absence of anchoring. Confidence intervals were constructed using
bootstrap procedures with 5,000 iterations.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 67
Table 8
Means (M) and Standard Deviations (SD) by Condition, and Intercorrelations Among Study 3 Variables
M (SD)
Control
Rudeness
1
2
3
4
Neutral
Information
Elaboration
Neutral
Information
Elaboration
1.
Rudeness manipulation
.48 (.50)
2.
Information elaboration
manipulation
.50 (.50)
.01
3.
Negative arousal
1.82 (.94)
1.66 (.78)
1.60 (.61)
2.37 (1.32)
1.69 (.73)
.21**
.19**
4.
Anchoring
41.41 (30.58)
37.71 (28.75)
41.42 (24.43)
42.13 (31.79)
44.79 (37.17)
.06
.05
.16*
Note. N = 197; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness condition was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Information elaboration condition was
coded as 0 = neutral, 1 = intervention. Higher numbers in anchoring mean absence of anchoring.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 68
Table 9
Moderated Mediation Effects of Information Elaboration and Negative Arousal on the Relationship Between Rudeness and Anchoring,
Study 3
Negative Arousal
Anchoring
B
SE
t
95% CI
B
SE
t
95% CI
Intercept
1.66**
.12
13.39
[1.418, 1.909]
47.79**
5.84
8.19
[36.280, 59.307]
Rudeness manipulation (R)
.71**
.18
3.93
[.353, 1.06]
8.71
6.34
1.37
[3.791, 21.216]
Information elaboration manipulation (IE)
.07
.18
-.37
[.414, .283]
3.31
5.98
.55
[8.472, 15.099]
R × IE
.62*
.26
-2.43
[1.125, .117]
4.81
8.78
-.55
[22.126, 12.500]
Negative arousal
6.06*
2.44
-2.49
[10.864, 1.258]
Conditional indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring through negative arousal (for
participants in the control information
elaboration condition)
4.30*, 95% CI [9.640, .303]
Conditional indirect effect of rudeness on
anchoring through negative arousal (for
participants in the intervention information
elaboration condition)
.53, 95% CI [2.744, 1.184]
Index of moderated mediation
3.76*, 95% CI [.053, 9.162]
R2
.11
.04
Note. N = 197; *p < .05, **p < .01. Rudeness condition was coded as 0 = control, 1 = rude. Information elaboration condition was
coded as 0 = neutral, 1 = intervention. Higher numbers in anchoring mean absence of anchoring. Confidence intervals were
constructed using bootstrap procedures with 5,000 iterations.
Running Head: Rudeness and Anchoring 69
Figure 1
Theoretical model hypothesizing that the mediating effect of negative arousal on the relationship
between exposure to rudeness and anchoring is moderated by perspective taking and information
elaboration.
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