The Evolution of Cognition and Biases in Negotiation Research: An Examination of Cognition, Social Perception, Motivation, and Emotion

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Handbook of Negotiation and Culture


Stanford University Press

First Page


Last Page



MJ Gelfand & JM Brett


Bazerman and Neale's (1983) chapter on heuristics in negotiating initiated a new era of negotiation research. Prior to that time, the study of negotiation as led by Pruitt (1981), Kelley (1966), Deutsch (1973), Druckman (1968), Morley and Stephenson (1977), Siegel and Fouraker (1960), and others focused on the bargaining process, the study of moves and countermoves, aspirations and goals, and , to some extent, expectations. The birth of the cognitive negotiation theory was fueled by three events in the social sciences. First, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman's empirical studies and their seminal 1982 book with Paul Slovie, Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, created a new field of behavioral science: behavioral decision theory. Richard Nisbett and Lee Ross's empirical studies and their book Human Inference: Strategies and Shortcoming of Social Judgment (1980) further catalyzed the field of behavioral decision theory. Second, the social cognition movement in social psychology (ef. Taylor and Fiske, 1975) focused researchers on the mental shortcomings of the social actor. Finally, Howard Raiffa, in his book The Art and Science of Negotiation (1982), provided a conceptual perspective on negotiation--the asymmetrical prescriptive-descriptive approach--arguing that the best advice (or prescriptions) to negotiators included an understanding not only of what negotiators should do (the rational perspective) but also of what they are likely to do (the behavioral perspective).


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