Study: People Lie to Women in Negotiations. A Lot.

Illustration for article titled Study: People Lie to Women in Negotiations. A Lot.

Most women have felt the paradoxical frustration of wanting to and being perfectly capable of buying a car or a home, but knowing that even the presence of a man on your side can help you be taken more seriously and get a better deal. The first advice any woman receives upon expressing an intention to buy a car or even take a car for maintenance is "Take a man with you—even if you know exactly what you're doing." And it sucks. A new study highlights a reason as to why women are written off at the negotiation table: people are more likely to straight up lie to women than men when trying to make a deal. Oh great.


The study conducted by researchers from UC Berkeley and UPenn found that women are viewed as easy to mislead and therefore less competent in negotiations. Because of this bias, negotiators (regardless of sex) are more likely to deceive women in order to seal a deal.

One portion of the study had participants acting as prospective sellers rating potential buyers who were either male, female, or gender neutral. In general, women were seen as easier to mislead, less competent, but more warm. Oh so you're a nice, warm person? As researchers Laura J. Kraya and Alex B. Van Zanta write, "Warmth…may decrease women's resistance to lies because directly confronting deception is considered impolite."

In another part of the study, participants did a role-playing exercise in which one person took on the role of a seller for a piece of real estate to be used for "'tasteful' and preferably residential" purposes, while the other was supposed to be a buyer who wanted to build a high-rise hotel (something to which the seller was opposed). The buyer could use any degree of deception necessary to make the purchase. Unsurprisingly, women sellers were deceived by buyers (regardless of the buyers' gender) far more than men sellers. Via Think Progress:

And buyers were more likely to admit that they had deceived women — 22 percent of them did — than to men — 5 percent…To add insult to injury, buyers were more likely to be blatantly deceptive with women than with men, but they were more likely to be outright truthful with men.

They also found that pairs with female sellers reached more deals than those with male sellers "because buyers were more likely to deceive female sellers than male sellers" so the women thought they were getting a good deal when they weren't.

Jesus, if women are so warm and easy to swindle, why all the extra effort to mislead them? For some reason, I highly doubt the confidence gap is wide enough to account for this. Just saying, leaning in may be a bit difficult when people are purposefully lying to you.

Image via Shutterstock.



My worst car-buying experience: I looked at a vehicle, got approved for the financing of the vehicle, and went back the next day to seal the deal. When I returned, the car had been sold to someone else. The asshole salesman tried to tell me that, because I was approved for financing, I HAD to buy a car from them. I knew this was bullshit and told him so. I was a law student and knew full well that, since they couldn't fulfill their end of the offer, I didn't have to fulfill mine. I was, however willing to check out their inventory to see IF they had something I was interested in, while still reviewing other options.

While researching other options online, I somehow ended up speaking on the phone with a female salesperson and told her my story. She couldn't help me with what I was looking for, but was genuinely pissed on my behalf and told me that, because I was approved for financing by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. I could walk into ANY authorized Nissan dealer and that financing approval would be honored; and that the sales guy from the first dealership knew this and that was why he was trying to strongarm me. I went back, told him "no dice" and that I was taking my credit approval to a dealership that wouldn't try to screw with me. Buh-bye. The pissed-off look on his face was priceless, and well worth all of the aggravation.

I ended up buying a vehicle from another dealership, from a salesman that treated me very fairly.