Posted: Feb 20, 2013 8:44 PM by CBS News
The silent treatment is the best way to go when dealing with jerks, a New York-based study finds.
According to researchers at Baruch College, City University of New York, it's more mentally healthy to abruptly end a conversation with someone obnoxious than to continue speaking with them.
"It's depleting to force yourself to have difficult conversations when all you want to do is ignore the person," lead author Kristin Sommer, associate professor of psychology at Baruch College in New York, told Canadian wire service Postmedia news. "Ostracism can serve the regulatory goal of allowing people to conserve resources.
Sommer and her co-author, Juran Yoon, pulled data from two studies and nearly 120 people. Participants were asked to have a dialogue with another person and act either "highly likeable (polite and egalitarian) or highly unlikeable (rude and bigoted) acquaintance." The participants were then taken to a private room to complete an assignment.
Researchers concluded that participants performed worse on the task after ignoring a likeable person, and performance was better when participants used the silent treatment on an offensive person.
The study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
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