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Poker Face, Smiley Face, and Rant and Rave: Myths and Realities about Emotion in Negotiation


There is a mix of advice concerning the role of emotion in negotiation. Both the prescriptive and descriptive negotiation literatures toil with the questions of whether it is advisable to be emotional in a negotiation, whether one should play on other's emotions, and whether it is better to display positive or negative emotions throughout a negotiation. Our review of the research literature identifies three distinct perspectives on the role of emotion at the bargaining table. These perspectives, which we label the rational negotiator, the positive negotiator, and the irrational negotiator, give rise to very different prescriptive advice. First, we review these three perspectives on emotion and critically examine the prescriptive advice that flows from each of these perspectives. Subsequently, we expose the assumptions and biases that underlie this advice. Finally, we suggest directions for future research.


Book Chapter


Leigh Thompson, Victoria Medvec, Vanessa Seiden, Shirli Kopelman

Date Published



Thompson, Leigh, Victoria Medvec, Vanessa Seiden, and Shirli Kopelman. 2001. Poker Face, Smiley Face, and Rant and Rave: Myths and Realities about Emotion in Negotiation.


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