Talk on 28 Sept (4pm, AS4/06-04) by Dr. Jayanth Narayanan on “The Spontaneity Heuristic: Inferred Trustworthiness in a Trust Game”

BIZJAYANThere will be a departmental talk on 28th Sept (4pm) by Jayanth Narayanan. Please note the change in venue; the coming week’s talk will be at AS4/06-04.

Upcoming talks are also featured on the departmental blog ( and a full list of talks for the semester is accessible at Please go ahead and circulate these links to any colleagues or students who may be interested in these talks.  

Best, Melvin

Title: Spontaneous action as a double-edged sword

Date/Time: 28 Sept 2010 (Tuesday), 4pm

Venue: AS4/06-04

People often make spontaneous decisions – unplanned actions without premeditation in interpersonal relationships. They trust people without deliberate forethought or planning (Meyerson, Kramer and Weick, 2006), retaliate emotionally (Pillutla & Murnighan, 1996), reciprocate and cooperate.  The very same behaviors of trust, reciprocity, revenge and cooperation may also result from a deliberative process.  Not much is known, however, about how the spontaneity of actions affects interpersonal relationships. For example, would people view spontaneous acts of trust more favorably than deliberate and planned acts?  Would they react to unfairness that is deliberate rather than spontaneous? These are the questions that we attempted to answer in two experiments in which participants played standard games that are used extensively in experimental economics. The results of the two experiments suggest that spontaneous actions both help and hurt the actor. In summary, spontaneous and positively valenced acts are viewed more positively than deliberate acts. And spontaneous and negatively valenced acts are viewed more negatively than deliberate ones.

About the speaker:
Dr. Jayanth (Jay) Narayanan is an Assistant Professor in the NUS Business School, and his research focuses on physiological mechanisms in management, the social consequences of mindfulness, and understanding the psychological effects of power and status on people in interactions. He joined the Department of Management & Organization in 2006 with a PhD in organizational behavior from London Business School. His dissertation focused on understanding the psychological effects of power and status on people in interpersonal interactions. Dr. Narayanan is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Management Inquiry.

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