Research Archive

On Feelings as a Heuristic for Making Offers in Ultimatum Negotiations

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Marketing


This research examines how the reliance on emotional feelings as a heuristic influences the proposal of offers in negotiations. Results from three experiments based on the classic ultimatum game show that, compared to proposers who do not rely on their feelings, proposers who rely on their feelings make less generous offers in the standard ultimatum game, more generous offers in a variant of the game allowing responders to make counteroffers, and less generous offers in the dictator game where no responses are allowed. Reliance on feelings triggers a more literal form of play, whereby proposers focus more on how they feel toward the offers themselves than on how they feel toward the possible outcomes of these offers, as if their offers were the final outcomes. Proposers relying on their feelings also tend to focus on gist-based, simpler construals of negotiations that capture only the essential aspects of the situation.
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Stephen, Andrew, and Michel Tuan Pham. "On Feelings as a Heuristic for Making Offers in Ultimatum Negotiations." Psychological Science 19, no. 10 (October 2008): 1051-1058.

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