Archive | Jury Behavior

Reminder: Juries are Groups, Jurors are Individuals

So, the reader is probably thinking “duh, right, tell me something I didn’t know.” And, I agree, this should be obvious. Except when it isn’t. The beginning of a trial includes voir dire – asking questions of individuals – to determine which ones the attorney wants to include, or more accurately, exclude from a jury. […]

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David may believe it is obvious to most people that there are fundamental differences between juries and jurors, however, I must disagree with this conclusion. I find that most people, as well as most attorneys, rarely consider the group dynamics that are an integral aspect of jury behavior. In fact, I will go as far […]

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Defensive attribution

Defensive attribution has been widely researched by social psychologists since the 1960s. Defensive attribution is the bias, present in most people, that leads to blaming a victim of misfortune for his/her role in the misfortune. Among the first research studies on the topic of defensive attribution was a study that found accident victims were perceived […]

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Though I have taken graduate psychology courses, I have certainly benefited from the litigation specific tutoring and examples Melissa has provided me, and our clients, over many years. I recall one of the first times defensive attribution raised its ugly head and had to be explained to a client on the fly. Our client, a […]

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A Numbers Game

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 1, 2018

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

It happened last week, as it has many times before. “It,” in this case, is the random outcome of a mock jury project that surprises the clients most of all. The scenario was as follows: we were engaged to conduct mock jury research using 4 panels of mock jurors to deliberate to a verdict. The […]

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I have had the opportunity to observe thousands of mock jurors deliberate and, although I do not know in advance what their decisions will be, I know enough to realize people are not always who they appear to be. I have spent countless time watching and listening to people make decisions, including mock jury deliberations […]

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Impression management

In this series of posts, I will discuss social psychological concepts that operate in everyday life, as well as within the context of my work as a litigation/trial consultant. Some of the concepts I will cover have become well known among laypersons, that is, people who do not have an advanced degree in psychology, while […]

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This series of posts capture many of the scientific concepts at play in persuasion and human decision making. As our world largely revolves around civil litigation, issues like impression management are factors in all of our work with the fact finders – juries, mediators, arbitrators, or judges as well as with the persuaders – the […]

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Fake Surveys

There is a trend in recent years for every purchase, service encounter, or dining experience to end with a customer satisfaction survey. As useful as feedback can be, it is, obvious to me that many of these “surveys” are better called “fake surveys.” That is, they lack objectivity and they lack validity. As an example, […]

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Fake surveys, like fake news, are a disservice to those who rely on them to make decisions. When I am asked to complete a survey, I complete it honestly, whether or not my answers are positive, neutral, or negative. I don’t understand the purpose of providing feedback unless it is honest, with the goal being […]

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Gouge

I recently learned a new term, a term that appeared in a Facebook query by a friend (Robert, you know who you are.)  The term is “gouge” – not as in price gouging or destroying someone’s eyes, but it is apparently a term originating in the U.S. Navy which originally meant “the answers to the […]

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I have an excellent vocabulary, however, until I read the title of David’s post, I had never heard of the word, “gouge” defined as “inside information.”  I daresay that, once I finish writing this post, I will never again use “gouge” to mean anything other than its common dictionary definitions of “chisel” or “an excessive […]

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It doesn’t cost, it pays.

I was speaking with someone recently who was lamenting about how cost is a factor in decisions, sometimes, with a penny wise and dollar (pound) foolish approach. This person quickly related a story about when he was buying a piece of equipment for his office and asked what it cost. The astute salesperson said, “it […]

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There is a common maxim, “If you have to ask the cost, then you probably can’t afford it.” Some of Magnus’ clients are more cost conscious than others and, in fact, some of them are more concerned about cost than quality. When I am asked, usually by someone in the audience at one of my […]

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Alternative Venue Research

In a prior post which I initiated, I wrote about how not to do jury research. That post was prompted by a call from a prospective client who wanted to hire us, but wanted to specify every aspect of the research, but all of those approaches were wrong in our estimation. Specifically, he wanted the […]

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There are valid reasons for conducting mock jury research in a venue other than the trial venue. As David pointed out, when the trial venue is in a sparsely populated area, it is sometimes risky to conduct jury research in the venue because: (1) there is a risk of “contaminating” the jury pool, meaning there […]

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Reducing Uncertainty

This post builds on the evolution of our experiences as trial consultants and goes further back in that history than a related post on a similar topic.  When Melissa and I first developed the marketing materials for our new trial consulting practice (in 1993), we started from scratch on everything.   In time, we developed […]

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, attorneys and psychologists have vastly different personalities and philosophies of life. As a social psychologist, I am, first and foremost, a scientist. Generally speaking, I require facts, figures, data, statistical analyses, and other science based information to make an informed decision about something important. Absent this type of […]

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Defining Success

As trial consultants, we work in a field where defining “success” is somewhat elusive. We have talked around this in other posts, but will explain it further in this one. In the civil arena in which we work most often, the outcome variables are a verdict comprised of liability and damages. While lawyer advertising often […]

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The primary difficulty in defining success, when it comes to evaluating a jury verdict, is that there is no objective way to measure it. In psychology and other scientific endeavors, there is a control group, which receives no experimental manipulation, and is thus, considered a baseline by which to measure the results of the experimental […]

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