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Recently, I have been conducting some research on what items surrounding a person say about that person’s personality and then I was delighted to see a fascinating study on a related issue addressing people’s likes from Facebook.  In essence, the study research what predictive information can be gleened from a person’s “like” of something.

The researchers only evaluated items that had “likes” from more than 100 people.  The researchers used data from over 58,000 people as subjects.  The results were fascinating.

For example, likes of Sarah Palin, Indiana Jones, Swimming, and Pride and Prejudice were most predictive of the personality trait that the person was satisfied with life.  On the other hand, if the person liked “Gorillaz” “Hawthorne Heights” or Stewie Griffin, they were likely to be disatisfied.  In addition, if a person liked “Foursquare” or “Kaplan University”, they were more likely to be conscientious and well organized.  On the other hand, if they liked “Wes Anderson,” “Anime,” or “Join if Ur Fat,” then the person was more likely to be spontaneous.

Another way of looking at the likes would be in conjuction with each other.  If a person liked “The Godfather,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Plato,” and “Cheerleading,” that person would most likely be a high IQ, satisfied, liberal/artistic and extraverted person.

The ramifications of this research are vast.  This could be used in jury selection, in interrogation, and job interviews to say the least.

If you would like to know your own personality, you can test it at

By Steven G. Mehta

Steve Mehta

Here is a brief article in the Boston Globe regarding making and responding to offers.  Many litigators consider this approach to be a sound negotiating strategy. Now there is some science to support it.

“NEXT TIME YOU find yourself in a negotiation, don’t just throw out a round number. In a series of experiments, researchers from Columbia University found that offering a precise number—e.g., $4,925 compared to $5,000—resulted in a significantly more deferential counteroffer, due to the perception that a precise opening offer was more reasoned and informed.”

Mason, M. et al., “Precise Offers Are Potent Anchors: Conciliatory Counteroffers and Attributions of Knowledge in Negotiations,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming).



The question that i would ask, is what is the best time to do such an offer.  I would suggest that making a final offer or close to final offer with such precision is much more effective in the litigation context than the early offers.  However, in much of the real world negotiations outside of litigation, having such an offer from the outset might give more credibility to the other side really thinking about why you made the offer so specific.  

You can’t go anywhere without someone texting you today.  For some, text messages are the preferred source of communications.  But how accurate are texts and can we rely on this form of communication?

The reality is that text message, while efficient, is a very flawed method of communicating.  According to longstanding research by Mehrabian, 93% of communication is lost if you are just relying on the words themselves – which is exclusively the realm of texts. Moreover, when people communicate in short bursts, it is easier to misunderstand the meaning of the text than in other forms of written communication that is longer. Indeed, according to researchers Kato and Akahori in 2005, the smaller the amount of emotional content in a text message led to an increased amount of anxiety and frustration in the reciever’s reaction.

According to recent research, by David Xu, assistant professor in the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, text messaging also leads to a greater likelihood of people lying in the text message.  Dr. Xu found that subjects who communicated via text messages were 95 percent more likely to lie or decieve than if they had interacted via video, 31 percent more likely to report deception when compared to face-to-face, and 18 percent more likely if the interaction was via audio chat.

Xu said this kind of research has implications for consumers to avoid problems such as online fraud, and for businesses looking to promote trust and build a good image, Xu said.

This also has implications for negotiations.  It is important to make sure that important negotiations are not conducted over text but instead through other methods.  Indeed, many negotiations require subtle clues to be interpreted.  Those interprations cannot occur through text messages.

It is also important to note that one benefit, however, of texting is for socially anxious people. For those people who are afraid of a face to face interaction, texting is beneficial. Indeed, research has shown that texting reduces the anxiety levels of persons who have difficulty communicating face to face.

Research Source: Wichita State University (2012, January 26). People lie more when texting, study finds.ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from­/releases/2012/01/120125131120.htm

By Steven G. MehtaSteve Mehta

Steve’s Book

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