Article | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | March 2012

Anxiety, Advice, and the Ability to Discern: Feeling Anxious Motivates Individuals to Seek and Use Advice

by F. Gino, A.W. Brooks and M.E. Schweitzer

Abstract

Across eight experiments, we describe the influence of anxiety on advice seeking and advice taking. We find that anxious individuals are more likely to seek and rely on advice than are those in a neutral emotional state (Experiment 1), but this pattern of results does not generalize to other negatively-valenced emotions (Experiment 2). The relationships between anxiety and advice seeking and anxiety and advice taking are mediated by self-confidence; anxiety lowers self-confidence, which increases advice seeking and reliance upon advice (Experiment 3). Though anxiety also impairs information processing, impaired information processing does not mediate the relationship between anxiety and advice taking (Experiment 4). Finally, we find that anxious individuals fail to discriminate between good and bad advice (Experiment 5a-c), and between advice from advisors with and without a conflict of interest (Experiment 6).

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives;

Citation:

Gino, F., A.W. Brooks, and M.E. Schweitzer. "Anxiety, Advice, and the Ability to Discern: Feeling Anxious Motivates Individuals to Seek and Use Advice." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102, no. 3 (March 2012): 497–512.