Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's all about football

Negotiation is a phenomenon that it is present in our daily life more than what we realize. But first of all, what is negotiation? We can define it as a dialogue between two or more individuals or parties who want to reach and understanding. They want to resolve a point of difference or, at the best, obtain advantage in the final result of the dialogue. They want to produce an agreement which can satisfy both interests of the parties, this is, obtain a collective advantage.

In this video we can see how the both parties (the man and the woman of the romantic couple) are trying to make a deal: the man wants to take home that horrible bench while the woman doesn’t.  

We can see here how emotions play an important role in negotiation. A negative emotion, as can be anger, makes the individual to cooperate less even before the negotiation starts (Forgas, 1998). People who get angry during a negotiation tend to change their central objective from trying to find an agreement to hit back and retaliate against the other party (Miase, 2005).  Because of this, it is more difficult to reach joint outcomes. This can be seen in the attitude that the angry girlfriend adopts. She doesn’t want to take home that awful and useless bench and there is nothing that could change her mind.

There are also some negotiation techniques that can be spotted in this clip. The first of them is auction, this is, the process is created to generate competition (Gates, 2011). When a lot of people want the same thing, a good thing to do is to pit them against one another. People want something even more if they see that they could lose it because someone else wants it also. In the video this can be seen when the creators of the “test” introduce in the situation two actors who pretend they love the bench. This makes the men in the couple to beg more to his girlfriend. He wants the bench at all cost.

Finally, the other negotiation technique that can be observed is flinch. This technique can be defined as the act of showing a strong negative physical reaction to a proposal. Colburn (2012) said that the flinch technique can be done consciously or unconsciously. Examples of this are gasping for air or an expression of shock or surprise. By this, you show the other party that you think that his proposal is ridiculous and that you expect that he will lower his aspirations (Gates, 2011). Once more, this is used (consciously or not) by the angry girlfriend, expecting that his boyfriend will forget the stupid idea of taking home those benches.


Coburn, C. (2012). Neutralising Manipulative Negotiation Tactics. Negotiation Training Solutions. Retrieved, 1.

Gates, S. (2011). The Negotiation Book: Your Definitive Guide to Successful Negotiating. John Wiley & Sons.

Forgas, J. P. (1998). On feeling good and getting your way: mood effects on negotiator cognition and bargaining strategies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(3), 565.

Maiese, Michelle (2005). "Emotions." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. <>.

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