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The Polarizing Effect of Arousal on Negotiation

24 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013  

Ashley D. Brown

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: February 7, 2013

Abstract

This research examines the impact of physiological arousal on negotiation outcomes. Conventional wisdom and extant prescriptive literature suggest that arousal should be minimized given its negative effect on negotiations, while prior research on misattribution of arousal suggests that arousal might polarize outcomes, either negatively or positively. In two experiments, we manipulated arousal and measured its effect on subjective and objective negotiation outcomes. Results support the polarization effect. When participants had negative prior attitudes toward negotiation, arousal had a detrimental effect on outcomes, whereas when participants had positive prior attitudes toward negotiation, arousal had a beneficial effect on outcomes, due to the construal of arousal as negative or positive affect respectively. Findings have important implications not only for negotiation, but also for research on misattribution of arousal, which previously has focused on the target of evaluation, in contrast to the current research, which focuses on the critical role of the perceiver.

Keywords: negotiation, misattribution of arousal, emotions, subjective value, economic outcomes

JEL Classification: C7, D74, M1

Suggested Citation

Brown, Ashley D. and Curhan, Jared R., The Polarizing Effect of Arousal on Negotiation (February 7, 2013). Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2213237

Ashley D. Brown (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

50 Memorial Drive, E52-554
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-5219 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

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