When under stress, people reach undesirable conclusions based on weaker evidence than when they are relaxed, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.
The findings, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, show that stress can make people more likely to conclude the worst scenario is true.
Senior author Professor Tali Sharot (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research) said: “Many of the most significant choices you will make, from financial decisions to medical and professional ones, will happen while you feel stressed.
“Often these decisions require you to first gather information and weigh the evidence. For example, you may consult multiple physicians before deciding on a best course of medical treatment. We wanted to find out: does feeling stressed change how you process and use the information you gather?