10 Common Cognitive Biases in Negotiation and How to Overcome Them

10 Common Cognitive Biases in Negotiation and How to Overcome Them


Negotiation is a necessary skill in both personal and business situations. Despite our best intentions, our decision-making processes might be impacted by cognitive biases, which confuse our judgement and impede good negotiating results. Cognitive biases are systemic flaws in thinking that can lead to erroneous judgements and decisions. Being aware of these prejudices and understanding how to overcome them is critical for successful negotiations.

This article will explore ten prevalent cognitive biases that might affect negotiating processes and outcomes. Negotiators may improve their capacity to make reasonable judgements, create stronger connections, and achieve mutually beneficial agreements by identifying these biases and employing tactics to combat them. Let's take a look at each prejudice and see what we can do to overcome them.

1) Anchoring Bias - Breaking Free from Initial Impressions 

When negotiators rely too strongly on the initial piece of information they hear, they "anchor" their future judgements and offers. To counteract this prejudice, it is critical to collect a wide variety of facts before making a decision. Negotiators can avoid fixating on the original anchor and make more impartial judgements by examining other views and investigating alternatives.

2) Confirmation Bias - Seeking Confirmation, Ignoring Contrary Evidence 

Confirmation bias refers to our propensity to favour information that supports our prior ideas while dismissing data that contradicts them. To combat this prejudice, negotiators should aggressively seek out alternative points of view and contradictory facts. Negotiators may make better judgements and avoid being misled by biased views by keeping an open mind and thoroughly examining all relevant facts.

3) Overconfidence Bias - Balancing Confidence with Realism 

Overconfidence bias arises when negotiators have an overinflated conviction in their own talents or the result of a negotiation. To offset this prejudice, negotiators should collect objective evidence, solicit opinions from others, and assess the potential risks and uncertainties involved. Negotiators can avoid making too optimistic assumptions and make more accurate judgements if they retain a realistic evaluation of their skills and the negotiating setting.

4) Availability Bias - Assessing Information Based on Availability 

The availability bias arises when negotiators concentrate largely on readily available information that comes to mind quickly, rather than examining a broader variety of evidence. To minimise this tendency, negotiators should actively seek out extra information and evaluate diverse sources. Negotiators can overcome the constraints of availability bias and make more balanced judgements by performing extensive studies and acquiring varied opinions.

5) Loss Aversion Bias - Balancing Risk and Opportunity 

Loss aversion bias refers to our propensity to prefer avoiding losses over earning equal rewards. In negotiations, this tendency can lead to excessively cautious actions and lost chances. To overcome loss aversion bias, negotiators should focus on a negotiation's possible advantages and benefits rather than exclusively on avoiding losses. Negotiators can approach negotiations with a more balanced mentality if they reframe the negotiation as a chance for mutual advantage.

6) Halo Effect - Seeing the Whole Picture 

When negotiators generate an overall good or bad image of someone based on one single quality or characteristic, this is referred to as the halo effect. To avoid the halo effect, negotiators should evaluate persons on numerous dimensions and isolate their overall evaluation from specific features or acts. Negotiators may make more accurate judgements and avoid making decisions based primarily on first impressions by taking a holistic approach to a person's talents, track record, and behaviours.

7) Anchoring Effect - Setting Realistic Expectations 

The anchoring effect is related to the anchoring bias, except it is concerned with the impact of an initial offer or reference point on future discussions. To overcome the anchoring effect, negotiators should obtain and analyse important market data before going into a negotiation in order to set reasonable expectations. Negotiators may avoid the effect of arbitrary anchor points and negotiate from a position of knowledge and confidence if they have clear goals and a firm understanding of market value.

8) Framing Bias - Shaping Perceptions through Framing 

When negotiators' decisions are impacted by how information is presented or framed, this is referred to as framing bias. To avoid framing prejudice, negotiators should assess information framing rigorously and consider alternate views. Negotiators may modify perceptions of the issue and establish a more cooperative and constructive negotiating atmosphere by framing the discussion in terms of shared interests and mutually beneficial results.

9) Sunk Cost Fallacy - Letting Go of Past Investments 

The sunk cost fallacy is the inclination to continue investing in a negotiation based on resources previously invested, even though it no longer makes rational sense. To counteract this tendency, negotiators should prioritise future costs and benefits above previous investments. Negotiators can avoid the sunk cost fallacy by honestly examining the existing situation and factoring in possible returns on investment.

10) Bandwagon Effect - Thinking Independently

The bandwagon effect arises when negotiators adopt specific positions or practices because others have done so. To overcome this tendency, negotiators should closely assess the reasons behind popular viewpoints and avoid mindlessly following the herd. Negotiators can make better informed and objective decisions that are in their best interests by independently examining the merits of various views and considering other perspectives.


Cognitive biases can substantially influence negotiation results by clouding judgement, distorting perceptions, and impeding logical decision-making. Recognising and overcoming these biases is critical for negotiators to obtain effective agreements and develop solid relationships. By being aware of anchoring, confirmation, and overconfidence biases, negotiators can actively utilise tactics to limit their effect. To overcome cognitive biases in negotiation, obtaining and assessing information from many sources is critical, questioning prior assumptions, and seeking other views is critical. Negotiators may establish a more collaborative and constructive negotiating atmosphere by encouraging open communication, having a realistic viewpoint, and concentrating on objective criteria.

Finally, by having a knowledge of these prevalent cognitive biases and employing ways to overcome them, negotiators may improve their decision-making processes, improve negotiation results, and produce mutually beneficial agreements. Overcoming cognitive biases is a continuing process that demands self-awareness, critical thinking, and a willingness to constantly improve negotiation abilities. Negotiators may handle the complexity of negotiation more effectively and successfully with practice and dedication.




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Learners Point Academy is a KHDA and ISO 9001:2015 accredited training institute in Dubai.

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