Anxiety, Advice, and the Ability to Discern: Feeling Anxious Motivates Individuals to Seek and Use Advice
conflict of interest
Mental and Social Health
Other Medicine and Health Sciences
Across 8 experiments, the influence of anxiety on advice seeking and advice taking is described. Anxious individuals are found to be 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). Although anxiety also impairs information processing, impaired information processing does not mediate the relationship between anxiety and advice taking (Experiment 4). Finally, anxious individuals are found to fail to discriminate between good and bad advice (Experiments 5a–5c), and between advice from advisors with and without a conflict of interest (Experiment 6).