Conflicts are inherently emotional, yet parties in conflict may choose to explicitly express indifference. It is unclear, however, whether this represents an effective strategy. Drawing on emotions as social information (EASI) theory, we examined the interpersonal effects of indifference expressions in conflict and the processes that underlie these effects. Study 1 indicated that people believe indifference expressions constitute a neutral emotional signal. However, Study 2 demonstrated experimentally that counterparts’ indifference expressions reduce focal negotiators’ cooperative intentions through both affective (negative affective reactions) and inferential (decreased expected collaboration) processes when compared to negative (anger, contempt), positive (hope), and neutral (no emotion) expressions. Study 3 revealed negative effects of indifference (vs. neutral) expressions on cooperative intentions, expected collaboration, and heart rate variability as a physiological indicator of affective responding. Results further showed an indirect effect through expected collaboration, but not through affective reactions. Study 4 established the negative effects of indifference expressions on a behavioral measure of cooperation through expected collaboration. Studies 5 and 6 (preregistered) demonstrated that the impact of indifference expressions on cooperative intentions (Study 5) and actual cooperation (Study 6) via counterpart’s expected collaboration is reduced when a counterpart explicitly indicates cooperative intentions, reducing the diagnostic value of indifference expressions. Across studies (N = 2,447), multiple expressive modalities of indifference were used, including verbal and nonverbal expressions. Findings demonstrate that explicit expressions of indifference have qualitatively different interpersonal effects than other emotional expressions, including neutral expressions, and cast doubt on the effectiveness of expressing indifference in negotiating social conflict.

Meh, whatever: the effects of indifference expressions on cooperation in social conflict

Brady, Garrett L.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Conflicts are inherently emotional, yet parties in conflict may choose to explicitly express indifference. It is unclear, however, whether this represents an effective strategy. Drawing on emotions as social information (EASI) theory, we examined the interpersonal effects of indifference expressions in conflict and the processes that underlie these effects. Study 1 indicated that people believe indifference expressions constitute a neutral emotional signal. However, Study 2 demonstrated experimentally that counterparts’ indifference expressions reduce focal negotiators’ cooperative intentions through both affective (negative affective reactions) and inferential (decreased expected collaboration) processes when compared to negative (anger, contempt), positive (hope), and neutral (no emotion) expressions. Study 3 revealed negative effects of indifference (vs. neutral) expressions on cooperative intentions, expected collaboration, and heart rate variability as a physiological indicator of affective responding. Results further showed an indirect effect through expected collaboration, but not through affective reactions. Study 4 established the negative effects of indifference expressions on a behavioral measure of cooperation through expected collaboration. Studies 5 and 6 (preregistered) demonstrated that the impact of indifference expressions on cooperative intentions (Study 5) and actual cooperation (Study 6) via counterpart’s expected collaboration is reduced when a counterpart explicitly indicates cooperative intentions, reducing the diagnostic value of indifference expressions. Across studies (N = 2,447), multiple expressive modalities of indifference were used, including verbal and nonverbal expressions. Findings demonstrate that explicit expressions of indifference have qualitatively different interpersonal effects than other emotional expressions, including neutral expressions, and cast doubt on the effectiveness of expressing indifference in negotiating social conflict.
Cohen-Chen, Smadar; Brady, Garrett L.; Massaro, Sebastiano; van Kleef, Gerben A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4051837
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