Friday, October 21, 2011

Understanding Emotional Transitions: The Interpersonal Consequences of Changing Emotions in Negotiations Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101, 3 (2011) 541-556

Research on the interpersonal functions of emotions has focused primarily on steady-state emotion rather than on emotional transitions, the movement between emotion states. The authors examined the influence of emotional transitions on social interactions and found that emotional transitions led to consistently different outcomes than their corresponding steady-state emotions. Across 2 computer-mediated negotiations and a face-to-face negotiation, participants negotiating with partners who displayed a “becoming angry” (happy to angry) emotional transition accepted worse negotiation outcomes yet formed better relational impressions of their partners than participants negotiating with partners who displayed steady-state anger. This relationship was mediated through 2 mechanisms: attributional and emotional contagion processes. The “becoming happy” (angry to happy) emotional transition as compared with steady-state happiness was not significantly related to differences in negotiation outcomes but was significantly related to differences in relational impressions, where perceivers of the “becoming happy” emotional transition gave their partners lower relational impression ratings than perceivers of steady-state happiness.