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Anxiety may be associated with a reduced ability to adapt to negative and uncertain social conditions, according to research in Psychological¬†Science. Researchers recruited 350 U.S. participants–about a quarter of whom had symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder–to play a trust game in which they exchanged money with another player, whose actions were controlled by an algorithm. Some algorithms were initially generous, then became less generous while other algorithms started as less generous and then became more generous. The non anxious participants’ playing behaviors shifted accordingly. But the participants who had anxiety symptoms were less likely to shift their behaviors in response to shifts in the algorithm’s behavior. To explain the results, the researchers developed a computational model that attributes to people with anxiety a lesser ability to learn from negative social events and in situations of uncertainty. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives