Dealing with each other

Kevin Lewis

September 24, 2017

On the Relative Importance of Individual-Level Characteristics and Dyadic Interaction Effects in Negotiations: Variance Partitioning Evidence From a Twins Study
Hillary Anger Elfenbein et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming


Negotiations are inherently dyadic. Negotiators’ individual-level characteristics may not only make them perform better or worse in general, but also may make them particularly well- or poorly-suited to negotiate with a particular counterpart. The present research estimates the extent to which performance in a distributive negotiation is affected by (a) the negotiators’ individual-level characteristics and (b) dyadic interaction effects that are defined by the unique pairings between the negotiators and their counterparts. Because negotiators cannot interact multiple times without carryover effects, we estimated the relative importance of these factors with a new methodology that used twin siblings as stand-ins for each other. Participants engaged in a series of 1-on-1 negotiations with counterparts while, elsewhere, their cotwins engaged in the same series of 1-on-1 negotiations with the cotwins of those counterparts. In these data, dyadic interaction effects explained more variation in negotiation economic outcomes than did individual differences, whereas individual differences explain more than twice as much of the variation in subjective negotiation outcomes than did dyadic interaction effects. These results suggest dyadic interaction effects represent an understudied area for future research, particularly with regard to the economic outcomes of negotiations.

Social class and wise reasoning about interpersonal conflicts across regions, persons and situations
Justin Brienza & Igor Grossmann
University of Waterloo Working Paper, May 2017


We propose that class is inversely related to a propensity of utilizing wise reasoning (recognizing limits of their knowledge, consider world in flux and change, acknowledge and integrate different perspectives) in interpersonal situations, contrary to established class advantage in abstract cognition. Two studies — an on-line survey from regions differing in economic affluence (N = 2,145) and a representative in-lab study with stratified sampling of adults from working and middle-class backgrounds (N = 299) — tested this proposition, indicating that higher social class consistently related to lower levels of wise reasoning across different levels of analysis, including regional and individual differences, and subjective construal of specific situations. The results held across personal and standardized hypothetical situations, across self-reported and observed wise reasoning, and when controlling for fluid and crystallized cognitive abilities. Consistent with the ecological framework, class differences in wise reasoning were specific to interpersonal (vs. societal) conflicts. These findings suggest that higher social class may also weigh individuals down by providing the ecological constraints that undermine wise reasoning about interpersonal affairs.

Low relational mobility leads to greater motivation to understand enemies but not friends and acquaintances
Liman Man Wai Li, Takahiko Masuda & Hajin Lee
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming


Enemyship occurs across societies, but it has not received as much attention as other types of relationships such as friendship in previous research. This research examined the influence of relational mobility on people's motivation to understand their personal enemies by measuring different dependent variables across three studies. First, a cross-cultural comparison study found that Hong Kong Chinese, from a low-relational-mobility society, reported a stronger desire to seek proximity to enemies relative to European Canadians, from a high-relational-mobility society (Study 1). To test causality, two manipulation studies were conducted. Participants were presented with images of co-workers, including enemies, friends, and acquaintances, in a hypothetical company. The results showed that the participants who perceived lower relational mobility paid more attention to their enemies in an eye-tracking task (Study 2) and had a higher accuracy rate for recognizing the faces of the enemies in an incidental memory test (Study 3). In contrast, the influence of relational mobility on motivation to understand friends and acquaintances was minimal. Implications for research on interpersonal relationships and relational mobility are discussed.

The Law of Jante and generalized trust
Cornelius Cappelen & Stefan Dahlberg
Acta Sociologica, forthcoming


A widespread cultural phenomenon – and/or individual disposition – is the idea that one should never try to be more, try to be different, or consider oneself more valuable than other people. In Scandinavia this code of modesty is referred to as the ‘Jante mentality’, in Anglo-Saxon societies the ‘tall puppy syndrome’, and in Asian cultures ‘the nail that stands out gets hammered down’. The study reported here examines how this modesty code relates to generalized trust. We argue, prima facie, that a positive and a negative relationship are equally plausible. Representative samples of the Norwegian population were asked about their agreement with the Jante mentality and the extent to which they have trust in other people. Two population surveys were conducted; one measuring individual level associations and another measuring aggregate level associations. It was found that the relationship between having a Jante mentality and trust is negative, at both levels of analysis and, furthermore, that the Jante mentality – this modesty code assumed to be instilled in Scandinavians from early childhood – is a powerful predictor of generalized trust.

Does influence beget autonomy? Clarifying the relationship between social and personal power
Stefan Leach, Mario Weick & Joris Lammers
Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, July 2017, Pages 5–14


We iteratively develop and test a model to clarify the relationship between both high and low levels of social (influence) and personal (autonomy) power. A meta-analysis synthesizing primary data (n = 298) and secondary data (n = 498) found that impaired personal power coincided with impaired social power, but not vice versa. Unexpectedly, elevated social power did not coincide with elevated personal power, suggesting that the association between influence and autonomy attenuates with increasing levels of power. Predictions arising from the meta-analysis and our revised theoretical model were supported in a subsequent study (n = 266). We discuss implications of these findings and avenues for future research.

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