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Agreement attraction and impasse aversion: reasons for selecting a poor deal over no deal at all


Psychological Science


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Tuncel E;Mislin A;Kesebir S;Pinkley R L


Publication Year



In the present studies, we examined the positive value of agreement and the negative value of impasse. Participants chose to give up real value and sacrifice economic efficiency in order to attain an agreement outcome and avoid an impasse outcome. A personally disadvantageous option was selected significantly more often when it was labeled "Agreement" rather than "Option A," and a personally advantageous option was avoided significantly more often when it was labeled "Impasse" rather than "Option B." In a face-to-face negotiation, a substantial proportion of individuals reached an agreement that was inferior to their best alternative to agreement. We showed that the appeal of agreement and the aversion to impasse both contribute to this effect, yet the aversion to impasse is the stronger of the two motivations. These findings have important implications for negotiators.

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