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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How is the Boss's Mood Today? I Want a Raise


Other people's incidental feelings can influence one's decision in a strategic manner. In a sequential game where a proposer moves first by dividing a given pot of cash (to keep 50% [vs. 75%] of the pot) and a receiver responds by choosing the size of the pot (from $0 to $1), the proposer is more likely to make an unfair offer (i.e., to keep 75% of the pot) to a receiver who watched a funny sitcom (vs. “angry” movie clip) in an unrelated study prior to the game playing. However, when the receiver knows that the proposer has the affective information, and the proposer is aware of this knowledge, the effect dissipates. In other words, a proposer expects a happy (vs. angry) receiver to be more accommodating or cooperative as long as the happy receiver does not realize that the proposer is trying to benefit from receiver's current incidental feelings.

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