Carnegie Mellon University
October 01, 2021

Chao Takes Interdisciplinary Approach to Negotiating Research

By Ann Lyon Ritchie

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences Ping-Ya Chao, a senior double majoring in policy and management and chemistry, is applying science to improve the art of negotiation. Her undergraduate research project could potentially uncover influential conversation tactics and strategies.

"Negotiation, as a general term, applies to everyday life. It goes from arguing about who should do which chore — such as taking out the trash — to more complicated things like business mergers," Chao said.

Her research examines one-on-one negotiations to measure transactivity, a term for how people build upon each other's reasoning. Examples of transactivity include snippets of conversation when a speaker asks a clarifying question that demonstrates active listening or when someone presents a counteroffer that integrates both parties' ideas.

Chao is part of the Science and Humanities Scholars program, a joint program within Dietrich College and the Mellon College of Science. For her summer research she is partnering with researchers in CMU's School of Computer Science and the Tepper School of Business to complete her project.

Read more about Chao’s research