Here’s an interesting tidbit to file away: You probably negotiate better for yourself and make better decisions when you do so at your optimal time of day.
You’ve heard of circadian rhythms, your 24-hour body clock. I, for instance, am an avowed morning person and often start my day at 4 a.m. By 9 p.m. I’m a blithering idiot.
In Effects of Circadian Rhythm on Cooperation in an Experiment Game, Carnegie Mellon researchers categorized research participants as either morning or evening types. They then paired each with another participant of the same classification and had them play the centipede game at a time that either coincided with or differed from their optimum circadian time. The researchers concluded,
…cooperation “unraveled” rapidly for dyads that played against their circadian optimum but cooperation was largely maintained by those who played at a time close to their circadian optimum.
This isn’t so much startlingly new information as it is another reminder that, when we can, we should try to have our difficult conversations when we’re physiologically more inclined to do them well.
A special thanks goes to my colleague Geoff Sharp of New Zealand for a heads up on this research.