Yes we can

Kevin Lewis

July 27, 2014

Negotiating face-to-face: Men's facial structure predicts negotiation performance

Michael Haselhuhn et al.
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Although a great deal of research has examined specific behaviors that positively affect leaders' negotiation processes and outcomes, there has been considerably less attention devoted to stable characteristics, psychological or physical, that might also influence outcomes at the bargaining table. In the current research, we identify a measureable physical trait - the facial width-to-height ratio - that predicts negotiation performance in men. Across four studies, we show that men with greater facial width-to-height ratios are less cooperative negotiators compared to men with smaller facial ratios. This lack of cooperation allows men with greater facial width-to-height ratios to claim more value when negotiating with other men, but inhibits their ability to discover creative agreements that benefit all negotiating parties. These results provide insight into the factors linking leadership, facial structure and conflict resolution.


Using abstract language signals power

Cheryl Wakslak, Pamela Smith & Albert Han
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 41-55

Power can be gained through appearances: People who exhibit behavioral signals of power are often treated in a way that allows them to actually achieve such power (Ridgeway, Berger, & Smith, 1985; Smith & Galinsky, 2010). In the current article, we examine power signals within interpersonal communication, exploring whether use of concrete versus abstract language is seen as a signal of power. Because power activates abstraction (e.g., Smith & Trope, 2006), perceivers may expect higher power individuals to speak more abstractly and therefore will infer that speakers who use more abstract language have a higher degree of power. Across a variety of contexts and conversational subjects in 7 experiments, participants perceived respondents as more powerful when they used more abstract language (vs. more concrete language). Abstract language use appears to affect perceived power because it seems to reflect both a willingness to judge and a general style of abstract thinking.


The Effect of 9/11 on the Heritability of Political Trust

Christopher Ojeda
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, a rally effect led to a precipitous rise in political trust. However, the increase in political trust concealed a simultaneous decline among a smaller portion of the population. This article examines the psychological mechanisms underlying these heterogeneous attitudes towards government and shows that a biosocial model best explains the observed patterns of response. The interplay of genetic and environmental factors of political trust reveals the stable but dynamic nature of heritability: genetic influences of political trust increased immediately following 9/11 but quickly decayed to pre-9/11 levels.


A counterpart's feminine face signals cooperativeness and encourages negotiators to compete

Eric Gladstone & Kathleen O'Connor
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2014, Pages 18-25

Early on, negotiators take each other's measure, drawing inferences that shape subsequent decisions and behaviors. In two studies, we investigate whether impressions based on the facial femininity of counterparts affect negotiators' behaviors. In our first experiment, we tested whether negotiators would choose counterparts with more feminine-featured faces over those with less feminine faces. As predicted, regardless of counterpart sex, negotiators preferred counterparts with more feminine-featured faces. When choosing agents, however, this preference reversed, indicating strategic decision making on the part of negotiators. In a second experiment, we tested our underlying claim that facial femininity evokes stereotypes of cooperativeness. It did, and in keeping with our main hypotheses, negotiators demanded more from their feminine-featured counterparts.


The many (distinctive) faces of leadership: Inferring leadership domain from facial appearance

Christopher Olivola, Dawn Eubanks & Jeffrey Lovelace
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Previous research has shown that people form impressions of potential leaders from their faces and that certain facial features predict success in reaching prestigious leadership positions. However, much less is known about the accuracy or meta-accuracy of face-based leadership inferences. Here we examine a simple, but important, question: Can leadership domain be inferred from faces? We find that human judges can identify business, military, and sports leaders (but not political leaders) from their faces with above-chance accuracy. However, people are surprisingly bad at evaluating their own performance on this judgment task: We find no relationship between how well judges think they performed and their actual accuracy levels. In a follow-up study, we identify several basic dimensions of evaluation that correlate with face-based judgments of leadership domain, as well as those that predict actual leadership domain. We discuss the implications of our results for leadership perception and selection.


Proud to Cooperate: The Consideration of Pride Promotes Cooperation in a Social Dilemma

Anna Dorfman, Tal Eyal & Yoella Bereby-Meyer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 105-109

In social dilemmas, broad collective interests conflict with immediate self-interests. In two studies, we examine the role of pride in guiding cooperative behavior in a social dilemma. We find that the consideration of pride led to more cooperation compared to the consideration of joy or a control condition (Study 1) and compared to the consideration of enjoyment (Study 2). The importance participants assigned to cooperation mediated this effect of emotion on cooperation (Studies 1 and 3). We suggest that because pride is linked to pro-social behavior, considering pride activates the concept of pride which in turn makes related behavioral representations more accessible and thus increases cooperation.


Ode to the sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation

Uri Gneezy, Andreas Leibbrandt & John List
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

The functioning and well-being of any society and organization critically hinges on norms of cooperation that regulate social activities. Empirical evidence on how such norms emerge and in which environments they thrive remains a clear void in the literature. To provide an initial set of insights, we overlay a set of field experiments in a natural setting. Our approach is to compare behavior in Brazilian fishermen societies that differ along one major dimension: the workplace organization. In one society (located by the sea) fishermen are forced to work in groups whereas in the adjacent society (located on a lake) fishing is inherently an individual activity. We report sharp evidence that the sea fishermen trust and cooperate more and have greater ability to coordinate group actions than their lake fishermen counterparts. These findings are consistent with the argument that people internalize social norms that emerge from specific needs and support the idea that socio-ecological factors play a decisive role in the proliferation of pro-social behaviors.


Violent Entertainment and Cooperative Behavior: Examining Media Violence Effects on Cooperation in a Primarily Hispanic Sample

Raul Ramos, Christopher Ferguson & Kelly Frailing
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

The impact of violent entertainment on viewer behavior remains disputed in the academic community. Although most studies focus on negative outcomes such as aggression, some studies also consider whether violent entertainment may reduce positive behaviors such as cooperation. The current article describes 2 studies of violent TV influences on cooperative behavior. The first study examined whether exposure to violent TV shows impacted cooperative behavior using the prisoner's dilemma task in a sample of 181 mostly Hispanic young adults. Results indicated that exposure to violent TV had no impact on short-term cooperative behavior. Long-term exposure to violent TV in real life also did not predict the level of cooperative behavior. The second study examined how motivational factors influenced the relationship between violent TV and cooperative behavior. Overall, these results do not support traditional media effects models of violent entertainment, at least in regard to short-term influences in an experimental setting.


Bargaining and fairness

Kenneth Binmore
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 July 2014, Pages 10785-10788

The idea that human morality might be the product of evolution is not popular. The reason is partly that the moral principles that actually govern our day-to-day behavior have been idealized in a way that makes a natural origin seem impossible. This paper puts the case for a more down-to-earth assessment of human morality by arguing that the evolution of our sense of fairness can be traced to the practicalities of food-sharing. When animals share food, they can be seen as enjoying the fruits of an implicit bargain to ensure each other against hunger. The implications of this observation are explored using the tools of game theory. The arguments lead to a structure for fair bargains that closely resembles the structure proposed by John Rawls, the leading moral philosopher of the last century.


Conflict Templates in Negotiations, Disputes, Joint Decisions, and Tournaments

Nir Halevy & Taylor Phillips
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Conflict situations present interaction partners with opportunities to behave cooperatively or competitively. Conflict templates (CTs) capture interaction partners' perceptions of the relationships between their actions and outcomes. Study 1 investigated situational influences on CTs as well as the cross-situational consistency of CTs using a longitudinal diary design. Deal-making negotiation produced more competitive perceptions than dispute resolution, joint decision making, or naturally occurring social interactions. Study 2 investigated downstream consequences of CTs by having participants submit strategies for a tournament involving four types of situations. Each strategy was matched with all other submitted strategies in a series of repeated games for a total of over 12 million rounds. Cooperative perceptions significantly predicted economic performance in the tournament. We highlight the implications of the current findings for conflict management and resolution.


Strategic Display of Anger and Happiness in Negotiation: The Moderating Role of Perceived Authenticity

Han-Ying Tng & Al Au
Negotiation Journal, July 2014, Pages 301-327

Emotional display is often used as a strategy in negotiation to manipulate one's counterpart's behavior. Previous research has examined the interpersonal effects of emotions in negotiation, but the evidence so far has largely focused on the perspective of the negotiator displaying the emotion with little attention paid to the impact of the emotional display on that negotiator's counterparts. In this study, we conducted two experiments to examine whether a negotiator's perceptions about the authenticity of his or her counterpart's displayed emotions of anger and happiness moderate the impact of those emotions on the negotiator. In Experiment One, we manipulated the perceived authenticity of the counterpart's anger as a between-subjects factor (authentic versus inauthentic). Negotiators who perceived their counterpart's anger as inauthentic conceded less than did negotiators who perceived it as authentic. In Experiment Two, we corroborated this finding with a two-variable (counterpart's emotion: anger versus happiness) times three-variable (perceived authenticity of counterpart's displayed emotion: authentic versus ambiguous versus inauthentic) between-subjects design. Negotiators conceded more to an angry counterpart than to a happy one when they perceived their counterpart's emotion as authentic, but we found the reverse pattern among negotiators who perceived their counterparts' emotions as inauthentic. Negotiators who perceived their counterparts' emotions as ambiguous in authenticity did not differ in concessions whether the counterpart displayed anger or happiness. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.


Market institutions bring tolerance, especially where there is social trust

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Tolerant societies seem to function better than nontolerant societies both economically and socially. This makes it worthwhile to identify ways to stimulate tolerance. While previous research indicates that market-oriented formal institutions and policies offer such stimulus, it does not investigate what role cultural factors, like social trust, plays. We find that trust is a catalyst: The more there is, the more positive the effect of economic freedom on tolerance. Formal institutions hence interact with the culture of a society and work better as generators of tolerance in alignment with trust.


Neighborhood factors related to the likelihood of successful informal social control efforts

Barbara Warner
Journal of Criminal Justice, September-October 2014, Pages 421-430

Purpose: To expand conceptualizations of informal social control in social disorganization and collective efficacy theories to include responses to informal social control, and to examine neighborhood level predictors of responses to informal social control.

Methods: The study uses surveys of approximately 2300 residents across 66 neighborhoods, supplemented with census data at the block group level.

Results: Neighborhood mobility decreased the odds of positive responses to informal social control, measured as both "giving in" and "talking it out" when you have a disagreement with your neighbor. Disadvantage was found to decrease only the odds of "giving in." Neighborhood level measures of social cohesion and faith in the police were also found to increase the odds of responding positively to informal social control efforts. In contrast, social ties were not found to significantly affect the likelihood of positive responses to informal social control.

Conclusions: The findings from this study broaden support of collective efficacy theory and concepts related to efficacious neighborhoods. While previous studies have raised questions about the measurement of informal social control, the findings in this paper offer support to earlier studies by providing a different approach to the conceptualization and measurement of informal social control.


Why can't we be friends? Entitlements and the costs of conflict

Erik Kimbrough & Roman Sheremeta
Journal of Peace Research, July 2014, Pages 487-500

We design an experiment to explore the impact of earned entitlements on the frequency and intensity of conflicts in a two-stage conflict game where players may attempt to use non-binding side-payments to avoid conflict. In this game, Proposers make offers and Responders decide simultaneously whether to accept the offers and whether to engage in a conflict. A simple theoretical analysis suggests that Proposers should never offer side-payments because Responders should always accept them and then still choose to enter conflict; however, our experiment reveals that some individuals use this non-binding mechanism to avoid conflict. Moreover, when subjects earn their roles (Proposer or Responder), conflicts are 44% more likely to be avoided than when roles are assigned randomly. Earned entitlements impact behavior in three important ways: (1) Proposers who have earned their position persistently make larger offers; (2) larger offers lead to a lower probability of conflict; but (3) Proposers whose offers do not lead to conflict resolution respond spitefully with greater conflict expenditure. Hence, with earned rights, the positive welfare effects of reduced conflict frequency are offset by higher conflict intensity. This result differs from previous experimental evidence from ultimatum games in which earned entitlements tend to encourage agreement and increase welfare; thus, our findings highlight the important consequences of endogenizing the costs of conflict. Our analysis suggests that earned entitlements alter behavior by influencing the beliefs of Proposers about the willingness of Responders to accept a peaceful resolution. As a result, these Proposers make persistent high offers, and when their beliefs are disappointed by a Responder's decision to accept a side-payment and still enter conflict, they retaliate.


Competition and Cooperation in a Public Goods Game: A Field Experiment

Ned Augenblick & Jesse Cunha
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

We explore the effects of competitive and cooperative motivations on contributions in a field experiment. A total of 10,000 potential political donors received solicitations referencing past contribution behavior of members of the competing party (competition treatment), the same party (cooperative treatment), or no past contribution information (control). We first theoretically analyze the effect of these treatments on the contribution behavior of agents with different social preferences in a modified intergroup public good (IPG) game. Then, we report the empirical results: Contribution rates in the competitive, cooperative, and control treatments were 1.45%, 1.08%, and 0.78%, respectively. With the exception of one large contribution, the distribution of contributions in the competitive treatment first order stochastically dominates that of the cooperative treatment. Qualitatively, it appears that the cooperative treatment induced more contributions around the common monetary reference point, while the competitive treatment led to more contributions at twice this amount. These results suggest that eliciting competitive rather than cooperative motivations can lead to higher contributions in IPG settings.


The Detrimental Effects of Sanctions on Intragroup Trust: Comparing Punishments and Rewards

Kyle Irwin, Laetitia Mulder & Brent Simpson
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Recent work shows that both reward and punishment systems increase short-term cooperation in social dilemmas. Yet, a growing body of research finds that punishment systems generate a range of negative side effects, including an undermining of trust in fellow group members' cooperative intentions. The present work asks whether reward systems can generate the same positive effects as punishment systems (increased cooperation) without the negative side effects (decreased interpersonal trust) or whether reward systems also lead to detrimental effects on trust. In two experiments we find that once removed, reward systems, like punishment systems, reduced trust to levels below a control group who never experienced sanctions. This research highlights the detrimental effects of punishment and reward systems on intragroup trust and thus shows that while reward systems can generate the same positive effects as punishment systems, they also generate the same negative side effects.


In Search of Homo economicus

Toshio Yamagishi et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Homo economicus, a model for humans in neoclassical economics, is a rational maximizer of self-interest. However, many social scientists regard such a person as a mere imaginary creature. We found that 31 of 446 residents of relatively wealthy Tokyo suburbs met the behavioral definition of Homo economicus. In several rounds of economic games, participants whose behavior was consistent with this model always apportioned the money endowed by the experimenter to themselves, leaving no share for their partners. These participants had high IQs and a deliberative decision style. An additional 39 participants showed a similar disregard for other people's welfare, although they were slightly more altruistic than those in the Homo economicus group. The psychological composition of these quasi-Homo economicus participants was distinct from that of participants in the Homo economicus group. Although participants in the latter group behaved selfishly on the basis of rational calculations, those in the former group made selfish choices impulsively. The implications of these findings concerning the two types of extreme noncooperators are discussed.


Communally Constrained Decisions in Workplace Contexts

Megan McCarty, Margo Monteith & Cheryl Kaiser
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

We propose that people who value communion strongly experience low communion work contexts as aversive and avoid them, and consequently forego even those work opportunities that promise career advancement. In Experiment 1, participants varying in their own communal goals described a prior work experience with a coworker who was either low or high in communion. Participants with strong communal goals had greater aversive and avoidant reactions to low communion work environments, relative to high communion work environments. This difference was much less pronounced for participants with weaker communal goals. In Experiments 2a (undergraduate sample) and 2b (MTurk sample), participants took the perspective of a protagonist considering a high status promotion in which subordinates were described as low or high in communion. Again, participants who strongly valued communion had especially aversive and avoidant reactions to the low communion work environment. Furthermore, high communion participants reported they were less likely to accept the promotion in the low communion environment condition, whereas the communal nature of the environment did not influence low communal participants' decisions. Thus, work decisions are constrained by the communal nature of the environment, but only among people who strongly value communion. Importantly, women scored higher on communion than men in all experiments, suggesting that women are more likely to experience communally constrained decisions.


Activity in the Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Underlies Individual Differences in Prosocial and Individualistic Economic Choices

Masahiko Haruno, Minoru Kimura & Christopher Frith
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, August 2014, Pages 1861-1870

Much decision-making requires balancing benefits to the self with benefits to the group. There are marked individual differences in this balance such that individualists tend to favor themselves whereas prosocials tend to favor the group. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this difference has important implications for society and its institutions. Using behavioral and fMRI data collected during the performance of the ultimatum game, we show that individual differences in social preferences for resource allocation, so-called "social value orientation," is linked with activity in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala elicited by inequity, rather than activity in insula, ACC, and dorsolateral pFC. Importantly, the presence of cognitive load made prosocials behave more prosocially and individualists more individualistically, suggesting that social value orientation is driven more by intuition than reflection. In parallel, activity in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala, in response to inequity, tracked this behavioral pattern of prosocials and individualists. In addition, we conducted an impunity game experiment with different participants where they could not punish unfair behavior and found that the inequity-correlated activity seen in prosocials during the ultimatum game disappeared. This result suggests that the accumbens and amygdala activity of prosocials encodes "outcome-oriented emotion" designed to change situations (i.e., achieve equity or punish). Together, our results suggest a pivotal contribution of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala to individual differences in sociality.


Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism and self-punishment after an unintentional transgression

Yohsuke Ohtsubo et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 182-186

The present study investigated a genetic underpinning of human reconciliation. Recent research has shown that people tend to inflict self-punishment as part of a repertoire of reparative acts. Since empathy generally facilitates reparative acts, we hypothesized that there exists an association between an empathy-related genetic variation, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene (rs53576 A vs. G), and the tendency toward self-punishment. Participants played a modified version of the dictator game, in which they made an unfair allocation unintentionally. They then had the opportunity to punish themselves by reducing some portion of their monetary reward. The results showed that the participants with the GA or GG genotype, compared to the participants with the AA genotype, were more likely to engage in self-punishment after making the unfair allocation unintentionally. This effect was not mediated by self-critical feelings (guilt and shame) associated with the unfair allocation. The present study suggests that the OXTR polymorphism is associated with a human reconciliatory tendency.


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