Polly is a behavioral scientist who theorizes and tests how affect and emotions shape behaviors and outcomes related to motivation (e.g., engagement, turnover, and prosocial behavior) and DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging). Her research often combines large-scale field datasets with causal research designs (e.g., natural field experiments and quasi-experiments) and tools from statistics and machine learning. She is a postdoctoral scholar at INSEAD.
She is visiting Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania during Fall 2023.
Kang, P. Daniels, D., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2022). The streak-end rule: How past experiences shape decisions about future behaviors in a large-scale natural field experiment with volunteer crisis counselors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Decisions about future behaviors are clearly shaped by the content of past experiences, but whether the order of past experiences matters remains controversial. By analyzing the largest field experiment about prosocial behavior to date, a natural field experiment involving 14,383 volunteer crisis counselors over five years, we examine how the content and order of past experiences causally influence decisions about future behaviors – whether individuals continue volunteering or quit. Volunteers were repeatedly and randomly assigned to perform 1,976,649 prosocial behaviors that were either harder (suicide conversations) or easier (non-suicide conversations). We found that the content of past experiences mattered: Harder (versus easier) behaviors encouraged quitting. However, the order of past experiences mattered far beyond their content alone: Harder behaviors caused disproportionately more quitting if they came in long “streaks” or at the “end.” These “streak”/“end” effects reveal important practical insights for leaders and policymakers seeking to boost prosocial behavior. For instance, a simple reordering intervention – assigning behaviors so as to avoid creating hard “streaks” – would reduce volunteer quitting rates by at least 22% (more than double the impact of previous behavioral interventions), boosting prosocial behavior and likely saving lives.
Kang, P. & Schweitzer, M. (2022). Emotional Deception in Negotiation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 173, 104193.
We investigate perceptions of emotional deception and introduce a novel distinction between the Up-display of emotion (the fabricated and the exaggerated expression of emotions) and the Down-display of emotion (the suppression of felt emotions). Observers judge Down-displays of anger, sadness, and happiness as more ethical (less deceptive, less intentional, and less harmful) than commensurate Up-displays. We integrate these findings to build a unifying framework of perceptions of deception, the Deception Perception Model, to assert that perceptions of deception are influenced by Deception Intention, Deception Magnitude, Consequences of Deception, Contextual Norms of Deception, and Deception Discovery.