Eating Together and Working Together (08-26-20)

Research by Cao and colleagues confirms and extends research previously published by Woolley and Fishbach (2019) on the psychological implications of sharing food, particularly reaching into the same bowl (or other container) repeatedly and eating food removed. Findings are relevant in the design of break areas and negotiation suites and the development of related food “policies,” for example.  The Cao-lead team reports that “Woolley and Fishbach (2019) empirically confirmed that shared eating leads to higher cooperation than separate eating. . . . we conducted two face-to-face negotiation experiments in which negotiators verbally and nonverbally communicated with each other and made decisions jointly.. . . The introduction of multiple issues . . . enabled us to explore the efficient integration of resources . . . known technically as Pareto efficiency. When a Pareto-efficient agreement is reached, ‘no [other] agreement is possible that would be preferred by both negotiators or would be preferred by one and to which the other would be indifferent’ (Tripp & Sondak, 1992, p. 279). . . . shared eating helped negotiators achieve higher Pareto efficiency in a multi-issue negotiation. . . Research suggests that rituals can increase cooperation. . . . the present findings suggest that breaking bread can lead to bigger negotiation pies.”

Jiyin Cao, Dejun Kong, and Adam Galinsky.  “Breaking Bread Produces Bigger Pies:  An Empirical Extension of Shared Eating to Negotiations and a Commentary on Woolley and Fishbach (2019).”  Psychological Science, in press, DOI:  10.1177/0956797620939532