The research: Luis F. Martinez of the Nova School of Business and Economics and his research partner, Marcel Zeelenberg of Tilburg University, asked people to play a classic economic game in which two partners transfer money back and forth. The amount exchanged indicates their level of trust. Before playing, some subjects were primed to feel regret; others were primed to feel disappointment. A third group wasn’t primed and served as a control. Across three experiments, regretful subjects transferred less money and therefore showed less trust than the other groups. Disappointed subjects sent the largest sums, displaying significantly more trust.

The challenge: Does being let down really cause you to have a more positive attitude toward others? Is disappointment the key to collaboration?

Professor Martinez, defend your research.