If you wake up expecting a stressful day, you will make more mistakes

If you wake up expecting a stressful day, you will make more mistakes

A recent study by Hyun et al indicated that if you wake up in the morning expecting to experience stress, your working memory function will be impaired throughout the day.
Working memory is that part (or parts) of your brain which makes second to second calculations. It is the part which you use to manipulate information, whether verbal, numerical or visual. Many decisions, particularly business-type decisions, are made on the basis of calculations made by the working memory.
Hyun’s participants were periodically reminded, by their smartphones, to complete a quick questionnaire designed to measure their stress anticipation. They then completed a working memory task. People who woke up and started the day anticipating stress performed worse in the tasks even much later in the day. This happened whether or not the stress did in fact materialise.
Seeing as working memory is so important in the average office worker’s decision making, it behoves managers and leaders to do everything they can to prevent their employees from expecting to feel stressed. This way, perhaps, errors in reasoning and decision making can be avoided.

Mailing list:

Please sign up to hear about new articles and occasional fun facts about the way we think.

If my articles interest you, you would really enjoy my book, Bias Beware, available here.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: