Archive | Jury Research

The “Trial Show”

Two recent cases on which we conducted mock trials prompted this post. In the first, the lawyers presenting the case did so using 8×10 photographs of the incident scene which they held up in front of the group of mock jurors. No enlargement, no projection, just a photo. Post research, I attempted to “encourage” the […]

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Most people learn new information via more than one method, including auditory, visual, and kinetic means. Reliance on only one method of learning may or may not be sufficient, but considerable research has shown learning that involves multiple methods is more likely to result in greater memory for what was learned than learning that takes […]

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Impression Management, part 2: Snap Judgments

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (January 31, 2018, page A9), “The Mistakes You Make in a Meeting’s First Milliseconds,” by Sue Shellenbarger, prompted me to think about first impressions in the courtroom. And, particularly, the jurors’ first impressions of the attorneys. While the attorneys’ first impressions of jurors and witnesses, both fact […]

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I routinely remark to the attorneys who are my clients that the jurors are the “only perfect people in the world.” That is, when one’s fate, and the fate of one’s client, rests in the decision made by a jury, the jury’s decision is final. Furthermore, the jury’s final decision may or may not be […]

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Bargaining and negotiation

Bargaining is a social psychological phenomenon that I observe in every mock jury research project I conduct. Rarely do the mock jurors reach unanimity without considerable back and forth discussions. According to social psychological theory, bargaining involves situations with the following characteristics: (1) the parties involved have divergent interests; (2) some form of communication by […]

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Bargaining and negotiation involve give and take. And, some people will do all the taking, and little of the giving. We all observe this in many human interactions. In a jury scenario, this reality takes on a specific life of its own. We see it all the time in mock juries as the mock jurors […]

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Commitment

Social psychologists often refer to the “3 Cs of Attitude Change”: conformity, consistency, and commitment. Previous posts have discussed the first two factors, conformity and consistency, and the current post will address the third factor, commitment. Commitment is the process by which people take a stand for or against a certain issue. Commitment to an […]

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Knowledge of the power of commitment is a powerful tool for attorneys. On the one hand, when someone makes a clear commitment to something which obviously is opposed to a lawyer’s position, such as Melissa’s environmental example, the choice is easy. Sometimes, however, a commitment to some belief or cause is more subtly “announced.” Being […]

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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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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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Buddy Payne

We’ve met some wonderful and interesting people in our years working with trial lawyers. One of those was R.W. Payne, Jr., better known as Buddy. Buddy was a true southern gentleman, hailing from North Carolina, then Virginia. He took control of the room when he entered, walking with the swagger of the former Marine and […]

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I have met few people throughout my life who possess the charisma and charm of the late Roland W. “Buddy” Payne, Jr.  Buddy was one of the most successful attorneys in the U.S.A. during his many years of practice as a trial lawyer.  Buddy was a trial lawyer in Miami at a time when trial […]

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Portable Food/Defensive Eating

It harkens back to my Boy Scout, “Be Prepared” days, but this topic of portable food is another of those basic, seemingly common sense items, that may not be so common “sensical” to everyone. The concept is simple. Schedules change, flights get delayed, the judge decides to work through lunch, the research facility is behind […]

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During my first interview for a job as a trial consultant, which took place in Manhattan, the experienced consultant who interviewed me asked if I was aware that working as a trial consultant required “defensive eating.” Maybe because I was awed at the sight of the Manhattan skyline from high above 57th Street, or uncomfortable […]

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I like my cat better than you

I like my cat better than you. There, I said it! Regardless of who “you” are, in all likelihood, I will say, in all truthfulness, that I prefer my cat to almost anyone, including “you.” The first time David became painfully aware that I am not joking when I say this was soon after we […]

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Melissa is a cat lady, probably not as crazy as some, but a cat lady nonetheless. I did pass the Ziggy test. And, he was fun – entertaining. I knew him for a little more than ½ of his life and have many fond memories. Prior to meeting, and living with him, I was not […]

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