UCL School of Management

Research project

The psychology of negotiations and public policy


An exploration of how psychological aspects of the decision-making process can systematically lead negotiators and policy makers to outcomes that fail to achieve their intended effect of the greatest good/value. Judgment biases pervade individual and organizational decisions, and we expose ways in which these biases are particularly harmful and recommend techniques to help people overcome these barriers.


We overview a multitude of barriers to the creation of value and wise policies, including those that are innate—both cognitive and affective. By identifying these systematic and predictable roadblocks, we hope to help citizens and policy makers overcome these barriers, create greater collective value in negotiations, design policies that avoid these pitfalls in our decision-making processes, and ultimately support the passage of wiser legislation. 

Selected publications

Milkman, K. L., Mazza, M. C., Shu, L. L., Tsay, C. J., & Bazerman, M. H. (2012). Policy bundling to overcome loss aversion: A method for improving legislative outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117 (1), 158-167. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.07.001 [link]
Bazerman, M. H., Gino, F., Shu, L. L., & Tsay, C. J. (2011). Joint evaluation as a real-world tool for managing emotional assessments of morality. Emotion Review, 3 (3), 290-292. doi:10.1177/1754073911402370 [link]
Tsay, C. J., & Bazerman, M. H. (2009). A decision-making perspective to negotiation: A review of the past and a look to the future. Negotiation Journal, 25 (4), 467-480. doi:10.1111/j.1571-9979.2009.00239.x [link]
Tsay, C. -. J., Shu, L. L., & Bazerman, M. H. (2011). Naivete and Cynicism in Negotiations and Other Competitive Contexts. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT ANNALS, 5, 495-518. doi:10.1080/19416520.2011.587283 [link]
Shu, L, Tsay, C., & Bazerman, M. (2012). Cognitive, affective, and special-interest barriers to policy making. In J. I. I. Krueger (Ed.), Social Judgment and Decision Making. Psychology Press.
Tsay, C., & Bazerman, M. (2012). Future directions for negotiations. In B. M. M. Goldman, D. L. L. Shapiro (Eds.), The Psychology of Negotiations in the 21st Century Workplace. Routledge Academic.
Bazerman, M. H., Gino, F., Shu, L. L., & Tsay, C. -. J. (2014). Reply: The Power of the Cognition/Emotion Distinction for Morality. Emotion Review, 6 (1), 87-88. doi:10.1177/1754073913495300 [link]

Link to the publication’s UCL Discovery page

Last updated Sunday, 27 July 2014


Research groups

Organisations & Innovation

Research areas

Social psychology of organizations

Research topics

Bounded rationality; Coordination; Decision analysis; Emotions; Expertise; Judgment and decision making; Negotiations; Social cognition