Let's say you recently turned someone down for a raise or a promotion, and he has now retaliated -- for instance, by quitting in a huff and taking a valuable client list with him.
According to a new study of the role of testosterone in business negotiations, you might have foreseen that, and maybe even prevented it, if you had checked out his right hand before making (or refusing) an offer. Specifically, if someone's ring finger and his index finger are the same length, look out.
Little or no difference in the size of those digits is an indicator of high prenatal testosterone, which tells you two things. First, this is a person who is preoccupied with preserving his status and saving face. Unless you handle his ego with kid gloves, he will be quick to take offense.
And second, if you cross him, he will get even.
上述是一项名为《Lex talionis：睾丸激素与报复定律》（Lex talionis: Testosterone and the law of retaliation）的研究得出的结论。该研究将会发布在下一期的《实验社会心理学杂志》（Journal of Experimental Social Psychology）上。
That's the conclusion of an intriguing study called "Lex talionis: Testosterone and the law of retaliation," to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Lex talionis是拉丁文，意为“应报正义”（retributive justice）。该项实验是这样进行的：哥伦比亚商学院（Columbia Business School）和西北大学凯洛格商学院（Kellogg School at Northwestern）的研究人员从志愿者中随机抽取48人，让其参加两轮议价。首轮谈判阶段的设计，目的在于要让测试对象完全上当，拿不到他们以为自己能赢得的40美元。研究对象事先未被告知有第二轮谈判；这一轮，局面被设计成与第一轮相反，志愿者得以控制竞价过程，以赢取第二份40美元奖励。
Lex talionis is Latin for "retributive justice," and here's how the experiment went down: Researchers from Columbia Business School and the Kellogg School at Northwestern put 48 randomly selected volunteers through two rounds of negotiations. The first bargaining session was rigged so that the test subjects were, in effect, cheated out of $40 they had thought they could win. In the second round, which the subjects were not told about ahead of time, the researchers turned the tables so that, this time, the volunteers controlled the bidding process for a second $40 pot.
Some people played fair during the second round, swallowing their disappointment at "losing" the first time and making reasonable efforts to reach an evenhanded outcome. Other subjects, however, responded quite differently. They aggressively lowballed the researchers, clearly determined to get payback.
After it was all over, the researchers used a flatbed scanner to measure everyone's right-hand index and ring fingers ("from the ventral proximal crease of the digit to the tip of the finger"). In every case, they found a direct correlation between "digit ratio" and vengefulness: The less of a difference between the two fingers, the greater the urge to get even.
Many other studies have established "digit ratio" as an indicator of prenatal testosterone -- that is, how much testosterone someone was exposed to before birth, often as a result of birth order (older children in a family tend to have more than younger ones) or a mother's genes.
But until now, the behavioral implications for negotiation strategy have not been clear.
"Testosterone is a hormone associated with status-seeking and a need to save face," notes Adam Galinsky, the Kellogg professor who co-wrote the study. "It makes a powerful difference in how people respond to situations.
"People with low testosterone -- that is, with a noticeable difference in the length of their second and fourth digits -- may perceive that they're being treated unfairly, but they're likely to go sulk in a corner."
However, Galinsky says, "If you're looking across a bargaining table at someone who has a slight difference, or no difference, between the second and fourth digits, be careful." Make an extra effort to mollify that person and stroke his ego, because doing otherwise is "like slapping a sleeping tiger."
2011-03-16 09:51 编辑：kuaileyingyu