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Volume VII, Number 5 • November 2013 • Archive of Past Issues
An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Written by Linda B. Bulmash

This Month's Topic:

Our senses often determine how we perceive a situation or an interaction. Studies conclude that we can influence how another person will perceive something by giving them a specific experience just prior to the event. The following sets out how the weight of something can influence a person's perception of a following event.

Light or Heavy: In a series of studies, Joshua M. Ackerman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Christopher C. Nocera of Harvard University, and John A. Bargh of Yale University explored how the feel of physical objects could arbitrarily influence our choices without our knowledge. In one study, the researchers asked passersby to evaluate a job candidate by reviewing résumés on either light or heavy clipboards. Those who were given heavy clipboards rated the candidate as better overall and more interested in the position than those who were given light clipboards did. The results suggest that the physical heft of the clipboards affected how "weighty/valuable" participants viewed the job applicant to be.

Take Away: The atmosphere surrounding a negotiation is often as important as the subject. Make sure you are not sending the wrong message. Next month we will examine how "soft" or "hard" might influence a negotiation.

* "3 Keys to the Senses and Their Impact on Negotiation", Harvard Negotiation Newsletter, Vol. 13, Num. 12, December 2010

LACBA member Linda B. Bulmash, Esq., writes the Negotiation Tips. You can contact her at:
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