Ms Melanie Milovac, Cambridge Judge Business School
How do observed affective cues influence the evaluation of creative ideas pitched by entrepreneurs? In contrast to conventional wisdom about the benefits of displaying positive affect when pitching a creative idea, our findings suggest that negative affective cues elicit more favourable evaluations. Furthermore, we demonstrate that an underlying psychological process of this effect is a lay belief that negative affect is associated with more analytical, detail-oriented thinking. Three experiments presented participants with video segments of actual entrepreneurial pitches showing positive or negative affective cues. Controlling for idea content and entrepreneur gender, the studies show that individuals form more positive evaluations and contribute more to an idea when negative affective cues are present in the pitch. Trust in the entrepreneur’s competency and dedication, as well as inferences about entrepreneurs’ analytical scrutiny, mediated the positive effect of negative affect.