Wednesday, July 21, 2010

scary thing is...can get away with Temper-Issues in some cultures, not in some others!

Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage,” according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Getting angry might help you get your way if you're negotiating with European Americans, but watch out – in negotiations with East Asians, getting angry may actually hurt your cause. That's the conclusion of a new study on how people from different ethnic groups react to anger in their negotiations.
Most scientific research on negotiations, done on western populations have shown that anger is a good strategy – it gets you larger concessions than other emotions, like happiness, or no emotions. Recent work done by Hajo Adam, of INSEAD in France, who coauthored with William Maddux of INSEAD and Aiwa Shirako of the University of California - Berkeley, noticed differences in emotions in people working from different ethnicities. They noticed that sometimes people get angry, and react differently to a given situation. He thought this differential-response to a particular emotion could be due to intercultural differences.
The experiment used volunteers at the University of California - Berkeley. Half were Americans of European ethnicity and half were Asian or Asian American.
Each student took part in a negotiation on a computer and were told that they were negotiating with another human participant, when actually they were negotiating with a computer program. The student was supposed to be selling an electronic gadget, and making deals on sale-issues like warranty period and price. In some negotiations, the computer said it was angry about the negotiation; in others, it did not mention emotion.
European Americans made larger concessions to an angry opponent than to a non-emotional opponent. Asians and Asian Americans, however, made smaller concessions if their opponent was angry rather than non-emotional.
A subsequent experiment suggested that this may happen because of cultural norms about whether it's appropriate to get mad. 
This experiment started with telling the participants whether or not expressing anger was acceptable during the study. Asians and Asian Americans made greater concessions to an angry opponent if they were told that expressing anger was acceptable. European Americans were less likely to make concessions if they were told that anger was unacceptable.
When anger expressions are perceived as inappropriate, "People tend to react negatively. They no longer want to concede," says Adam. "They may even want to shut down and potentially penalize the counterpart for acting inappropriately." "I think what's important is that one person expressing emotions really affects another person's feelings, thoughts, and behavior," says Adam. "And these
reactions to emotional displays can critically depend on a person's cultural background." 
Do different genders follow the same ethnic-vulnerability pattern? We don't know yet.

* Association for Psychological Science, 2010, July 20. Getting angry can help negotiations in some cultures, hurt it in others.  
* ScienceDaily 
* Image-
* Research review on anger in psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1999, Volume 55 Issue 3, Pages 353 - 363

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