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Thin Slices of Negotiation: Predicting Outcomes from Conversational Dynamics Within the First Five Minutes

Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 92, pp. 802-811, 2007

31 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2007 Last revised: 13 Jul 2008

Jared R. Curhan

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

Alex Pentland

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Abstract

In this research we examine whether conversational dynamics occurring within the first five minutes of a negotiation can predict negotiated outcomes. In a simulated employment negotiation, micro-coding conducted by a computer showed that activity level, conversational engagement, prosodic emphasis, and vocal mirroring predicted 30% of the variance in individual outcomes. The conversational dynamics associated with individual success among high-status parties were different from those associated with individual success among low-status parties. Results are interpreted in light of theory and research exploring the predictive power of "thin slices" (Ambady & Rosenthal, 1992). Implications include the development of new technology to diagnose and improve negotiation processes.

Keywords: Negotiation, thin slices, conversational dynamics, speech features, nonverbal, communication, artificial intelligence

Suggested Citation

Curhan, Jared R. and Pentland, Alex, Thin Slices of Negotiation: Predicting Outcomes from Conversational Dynamics Within the First Five Minutes. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 92, pp. 802-811, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=973827

Jared R. Curhan (Contact Author)

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)

Alex Pentland

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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

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