Basically it has to be said that we are sleeping one hour too less per night, on an average. In a recently in “Scientific Reports” published study psychologist mentioned that people with a lack of sleep are more receptive for advices than people with sufficient sleep. But, not the fact that people with a lack of sleep are easier to influence is decisive. The fact that the competence of the advisor moves in the background and the chances for “negative whispering advisors” increase.
In the study, the participants were withdrawn from sleep for 24 hours. In the following morning they had to do an estimation task. They also had an advisor they could ask for suggestions. The study revealed that persons with a lack of sleep were looking for more advice than slept off people from the control group.
In this context, the question arises on how lack of sleep is influencing the use of suggestions. Let’s take a closer look at the run of the study. The 96 participants were divided into two groups. The experimental group had to undergo a controlled sleep deprivation in a laboratory, the persons from the control group came well rested the next morning. The nightly rest was controlled by devices, activity- and movement-patterns that allow conclusions regarding sleep duration and sleep quality recorded.
As well the experimental as the control group had to solve estimation exercises on the computer. They had to estimate the distance of two different European capital cities. After their first estimation they were presented with the suggestion of the supposed advisor (two different people who were giving advice in turn). The participants were told that these two people were former participants of the study. One perfectly solved his task (7th out of 100), the other person was in midfield (52nd out of 100). After the tip of the advising person the participants were allowed to withdraw their decision and make a new estimation.
Lack of sleep makes uncritical
Each slept off and well rested person used the advisor far less than those under sleep deprivation. And, the influence of the advisor regarding the second estimation was much bigger in the experimental group. In total, the suggestions of the “competent advisor” was taken into closer account. But, the participants from the experimental group followed the suggestion of the less competent advisor much more frequent then the person from the control group. Generally, the result in the experimental group was worse than in the control group. If they took the suggestion of the competent advisor, no difference was recognizable in the second estimation.
Regarding the study it can be said, that people with a lack of sleep better select their advisor properly. Incompetent advisor or advisor looking for their own advantages might have a stronger influence on the formation of opinion of tired people.
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This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German