The finding is based on two experiments where volunteers were told they would be playing a negotiation game in which they would need to divvy up $1 with another player. If the two couldn't come to an agreement, both would get nothing.
In the first experiment, 870 volunteers were told that they would either be proposers or responders. Before the proposers were to suggest how to divide up the dollar they were shown a video clip in which an actress, playing the role of the responder, threatened to break off negotiation if she wasn't given what she wanted.
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The actress put on an angry expression in the clips shown to half the proposers and a neutral expression in those shown to the other half.
The demands, for a 50-50 split or a 70-30 split, came in writing during the video.
As it turned out, an angry expression had no impact when the demand was for a 50-50 split. But when the demand was for 70 percent to go to the responder, an angry expression elicited better offers from the proposers.
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In a second experiment, proposers were shown a video of "a typical responder." Even in this case, the angry look prompted better offers.
So, should we fake it and glower at the people we're negotiating with?
Reed suspects that it would work if we're good at acting, but people have a limited ability to fake it persuasively.
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