'Tactile environment' affects decision making
Published: 24th Jun 2010 19:09:52
If you want to negotiate a tough deal, make sure you are sitting on a hard chair, say US researchers.
In a mock haggling scenario, those sat on soft chairs were more flexible in agreeing a price.
The team also found candidates whose CVs were held on a heavy clipboard were seen as better qualified than those whose CVs were on a light one.
It shows that the "tactile environment" is vital in decision making and behaviour, they report in Science.
Overall, through a series of experiments, they found that weight, texture, and hardness of inanimate objects unconsciously influence judgments about unrelated events and situations.
It suggests that physical touch, which is the first of sense to develop, may be a scaffold upon which people build social judgments and decisions, the Harvard and Yale University researchers said.
Hard or soft
In one test, participants were asked to arrange rough or smooth puzzle pieces before hearing a story about a social interaction.
Those who worked with the rough puzzle were more likely to describe the interaction in the story as uncoordinated and harsh.
In a second experiment, subjects handled either a soft blanket or a hard wooden block before being told a story about an interaction between a supervisor and an employee.
The researchers found that those who touched the block judged the employee as more rigid and strict.
I can see that if people are sitting on a very comfy, relaxed couch being interviewed for a job they may not be as assertive and they may let their guard down
In the mock haggling scenario, individuals were seated in soft or hard chairs before engaging in a negotiation over the price of a car.
Those in hard chairs were less flexible, showing less movement between successive offers.
Study author Christopher Nocera said first impressions are liable to be influenced by the tactile environment, and control over this environment may be especially important for negotiators and job seekers.
"Touch remains perhaps the most underappreciated sense in behavioral research.
"The use of 'tactile tactics' may represent a new frontier in social influence and communication."
Professor Cary Cooper, an expert in organisational psychology at Lancaster University Management School said the work builds on findings that tactile relationships are important in social interaction.
"I can see that if people are sitting on a very comfy, relaxed couch being interviewed for a job they may not be as assertive and they may let their guard down.
"It's also about the ambience you create as well, not just the objects around you and the best environment will depend on what you want to achieve."
At 14:59:33 in BusinessThe US economy grew at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of the year, according to revised figures from the US Department of Commerce.
At 14:58:36 in WalesChepstow is to be the third Monmouthshire town to have street lights switched off in residential areas at night.
At 14:56:53 in ScotlandA man who "inflicted dreadful injuries" on a teenager has been jailed for 10 years for attempted murder.
At 14:54:07 in EnglandOne of the victims of church deacon Alan Morris has recalled how the "vicious beatings" he suffered became sexual abuse from which he never recovered.
At 14:48:09 in SportHartlepool United boss Colin Cooper says striker Luke James remains part of his plans.
At 14:42:29 in EnglandA man who threw a glass bottle while drunk, shattering a car windscreen and badly injuring a nine-year-old girl, has been jailed for eight months.
At 14:33:00 in ScotlandA care home in Aberdeen has been told it must make improvements after being labelled weak for the second consecutive time.
At 14:29:09 in Northern IrelandThe winter of 2013/14 was the stormiest in 143 years across Ireland and Britain, according to climatologists.
At 14:27:38 in EnglandA seaside town is bracing itself for a gold-rush after a German artist buried £10,000 worth of bullion on a beach as part of an arts festival.
At 14:24:10 in BusinessRussia has said it will introduce a new scrappage scheme to try to boost flagging car sales.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. 'Tactile environment' affects decision making [Online] (Updated 24th Jun 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/70111/Tactile-environment-affects-decision-making [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A senior councillor has been sacked from Wrexham council's executive board after making allegations about a child protection team.
One of the victims of church deacon Alan Morris has recalled how the "vicious beatings" he suffered became sexual abuse from which he never recovered.
A trial vaccine against Ebola could be given to healthy volunteers in the UK in September, according to an international health consortium.
Chepstow is to be the third Monmouthshire town to have street lights switched off in residential areas at night.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are now married, according to a spokesman for the Hollywood couple.