Saturday, March 11

The Rhythm Of Life Is A Powerful Beat, Puts A Tingle In Your Fingers And A Tingle In Your Feet

Yesterday, I couldn't work it out.

The key negotiator in the plaintiff's camp just went off the boil, just like that - as if someone flicked a switch.

One minute everything was sweetness and light, next he was Mr Niet.

Being the mediator I thought it was me (don't believe my previous post, it really is all about us) but no, no, I was assured, I was not the problem.....the insurer defendant's medical expert had a much simpler explanation.

She explained in some depth that this chap's cooperation had unraveled because he had diverged from his optimum circadian rhythm.

[Translation: he was a morning person and the mediation was now at a crucial stage but the timing was lousy, it was almost 11pm - 'Geoff, we need to come back at daybreak, no question about it']

While we were chatting (I almost got on the couch she was so forthcoming with her psychoanalysis) she referred me to an interesting experiment being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University - apparently the research showed that circadian rhythm moderates the impact of emotions on behavior in negotiation.

Individuals bargaining at a time that diverged from their optimum circadian rhythm were less able to regulate their affective responses and thus responded more aggressively to uncooperative behavior.

I'm now contemplating adding an extra 'r u am/pm?' tick box to my website intake form and scheduling the mediation accordingly...hmmm

P.S One of the researchers, George Loewenstein, a Professor of Economics and Psychology has written some fascinating stuff including something titled 'Wearing out Your Shoes to Prevent Someone Else from Stepping into Them: Anticipated Regret and Social Takeover in Sequential Decisions' ....George you rock!

1 comment:

Gary said...

Great stuff! I have said to participants that a problem during a mediation is really juat a time issue. For instance foul languge adds 5 min (to be handled on the run). Calling the other side dishonest is 30 min. Now I have to add 24 hours (or I guess 20 hours) for circadian rhythum. George is a gold mine of ideas. Professor of Economics and Psychology, that gives me an idea. You are certianly doing a great job of putting out good information from the field of psychology for mediators, maybe you should hold yourself out as Professor of Mediation and Psychology. No, as soon as I say it I realize it's bad marketing for the hard nosed money group who don't want to know they are really being moved along by someone using psychological tools.