You are on page 1of 29

Perception, Cognition, and Emotion

Perception, Cognition, and
Emotion in Negotiation
The basic building blocks of all social
encounters are:
 Perception
 Cognition
 Framing
 Cognitive biases

 Emotion
Perception is:
 The process by which individuals connect
to their environment.

A “sense-making” process
The Role of Perception

The process of ascribing meaning to messages and events is strongly influenced

by the perceiver’s current state of mind, role, and comprehension of earlier
People interpret their environment in order to respond appropriately
The complexity of environments makes it impossible to process all of the
People develop shortcuts to process information and these shortcuts create
perceptual errors
Perceptual Distortion

 Four major perceptual errors:

 Stereotyping
 Halo effects
 Selective perception
 Projection
Stereotyping and Halo Effects
 Stereotyping:
 Is a very common distortion
 Occurs when an individual assigns attributes to
another solely on the basis of the other’s membership
in a particular social or demographic category
 Halo effects:
 Are similar to stereotypes
 Occur when an individual generalizes about a variety
of attributes based on the knowledge of one attribute
of an individual
Selective Perception
and Projection
 Selective perception:
 Perpetuates stereotypes or halo effects
 The perceiver singles out information that supports a
prior belief but filters out contrary information
 Projection:
 Arises out of a need to protect one’s own self-concept
 People assign to others the characteristics or feelings
that they possess themselves
 Frames:
 Represent the subjective mechanism through which
people evaluate and make sense out of situations
 Lead people to pursue or avoid subsequent actions
 Focus, shape and organize the world around us
 Make sense of complex realities
 Define a person, event or process
 Impart meaning and significance
Types of Frames
 Substantive
 Outcome
 Aspiration
 Process
 Identity
 Characterization
 Loss-Gain
How Frames Work in Negotiation
 Negotiators can use more than one frame
 Mismatches in frames between parties are sources
of conflict
 Particular types of frames may lead to particular
types of arguments
 Specific frames may be likely to be used with
certain types of issues
 Parties are likely to assume a particular frame
because of various factors
Interests, Rights, and Power
Parties in conflict use one of three frames:
 Interests: people talk about their “positions” but
often what is at stake is their underlying interests
 Rights: people may be concerned about who is
“right” – that is, who has legitimacy, who is
correct, and what is fair
 Power: people may wish to resolve a conflict on
the basis of who is stronger
Approaches to Negotiation

Interests Rights Power

Goal • Self-interest • Fairness • Winning

• Dispute resolution • Justice • Respect
• Understanding others’
Temporal focus • Present (what needs and • Past (what has been dictated • Future (what steps can I
interests do we have right by the past?) take in the future to
now?) overpower others?)

Distributive • Compromise • Often produces a “winner” • Often produces a

strategies (pie and a “loser”; thus, unequal “winner” and a “loser”;
slicing) distribution thus, unequal distribution

Integrative • Most likely to expand the pie • Difficult to expand the pie • Difficult to expand the
strategies (pie via addressing parties’ unless focus is on interests pie unless focus is on
expansion) underlying needs interests

• Greater understanding • Possible court action • Resentment

Implications for
future negotiations • Satisfaction • Possible retaliation
and relationship • Stability of agreement • Revenge
The Frame of an Issue Changes as
the Negotiation Evolves
 Negotiators tend to argue for stock issues or
concerns that are raised every time the parties
 Each party attempts to make the best possible
case for his or her preferred position or
 Frames may define major shifts and transitions
in a complex overall negotiation
 Multiple agenda items operate to shape issue
Some Advice about Problem
Framing for Negotiators
 Frames shape what the parties define as the key
issues and how they talk about them
 Both parties have frames
 Frames are controllable, at least to some degree
 Conversations change and transform frames in
ways negotiators may not be able to predict but
may be able to control
 Certain frames are more likely than others to
lead to certain types of processes and outcomes
Cognitive Biases in Negotiation
 Negotiators have a tendency to make
systematic errors when they process
information. These errors, collectively
labeled cognitive biases, tend to impede
negotiator performance.
Cognitive Biases
 Irrational escalation  The winner’s curse
of commitment  Overconfidence
 Mythical fixed-pie  The law of small
beliefs numbers
 Anchoring and  Self-serving biases
adjustment  Endowment effect
 Issue framing and  Ignoring others’
risk cognitions
 Reactive devaluation
 Availability of
Irrational Escalation of Commitment
and Mythical Fixed-Pie Beliefs
 Irrational escalation of commitment
 Negotiators maintain commitment to a course of
action even when that commitment constitutes
irrational behavior
 Mythical fixed-pie beliefs
 Negotiators assume that all negotiations (not just
some) involve a fixed pie
Anchoring and Adjustment
and Issue Framing and Risk
 Anchoring and adjustment
 The effect of the standard (anchor) against which
subsequent adjustments (gains or losses) are
 The anchor might be based on faulty or incomplete
information, thus be misleading
 Issue framing and risk
 Frames can lead people to seek, avoid, or be neutral
about risk in decision making and negotiation
Availability of Information
and the Winner’s Curse
 Availability of information
 Operates when information that is presented in vivid
or attention-getting ways becomes easy to recall.
 Becomes central and critical in evaluating events and
 The winner’s curse
 The tendency to settle quickly on an item and then
subsequently feel discomfort about a win that comes
too easily
Overconfidence and
The Law of Small Numbers
 Overconfidence
 The tendency of negotiators to believe that their
ability to be correct or accurate is greater than is
actually true
 The law of small numbers
 The tendency of people to draw conclusions from
small sample sizes
 The smaller sample, the greater the possibility that
past lessons will be erroneously used to infer what
will happen in the future
Confidence or Overconfidence?
We came to Iceland to advance the cause of peace.
. .and though we put on the table the most far-
reaching arms control proposal in history, the
General Secretary rejected it.
President Ronald Reagan to reporters,
following completion of presummit arms control discussions
in Reykjavik, Iceland, on October 12,

I proposed an urgent meeting here because we had

something to propose. . .The Americans came to this
meeting empty handed.
Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev,
Describing the same meeting to reporters.
Self-Serving Biases
and Endowment Effect
 Self-serving biases
 People often explain another person’s behavior by
making attributions, either to the person or to the

 Endowment effect
 The tendency to overvalue something you own or
believe you possess
Ignoring Others’ Cognitions
and Reactive Devaluation
 Ignoring others’ cognitions
 Negotiators don’t bother to ask about the other party’s
perceptions and thoughts
 This leaves them to work with incomplete information,
and thus produces faulty results
 Reactive devaluation
 The process of devaluing the other party’s
concessions simply because the other party made
Managing Misperceptions and
Cognitive Biases in Negotiation
The best advice that negotiators can follow
 Be aware of the negative aspects of these
 Discuss them in a structured manner within the
team and with counterparts
Mood, Emotion, and Negotiation
 The distinction between mood and
emotion is based on three characteristics:
 Specificity
 Intensity
 Duration
Mood, Emotion, and Negotiation
 Negotiations create both positive and negative
 Positive emotions generally have positive
consequences for negotiations
 They are more likely to lead the parties toward more
integrative processes
 They also create a positive attitude toward the other
 They promote persistence
Mood, Emotion, and Negotiation
 Aspects of the negotiation process can lead to
positive emotions
 Positive feelings result from fair procedures during
 Positive feelings result from favorable social
Mood, Emotion, and Negotiation
 Negative emotions generally have negative
consequences for negotiations
 They may lead parties to define the situation as
competitive or distributive
 They may undermine a negotiator’s ability to analyze the
situation accurately, which adversely affects individual
 They may lead parties to escalate the conflict
 They may lead parties to retaliate and may thwart
integrative outcomes
Mood, Emotion, and Negotiation
 Aspects of the negotiation process can lead to
negative emotions
 Negative emotions may result from a competitive
 Negative emotions may result from an impasse
 Effects of positive and negative emotion
 Positive emotions may generate negative outcomes
 Negative feelings may elicit beneficial outcomes
 Emotions can be used strategically as
negotiation gambits