Archive | Jury Research

Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous

Many things in the lives of adults are related to the way in which we were brought up as children. If, for example, someone was taught by his/her parents to prefer Fords over Chevys, or to cheer for the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the Boston Red Sox, these long standing habits are likely to be […]

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Melissa approaches the topic of “Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous” as an etiquette issue, and it is. Working for and with trial lawyers is challenging, sometimes. The general public’s impression of attorneys is not always the most favorable, to put it simply. The perceived lack of courtesy may explain part of that. And, […]

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Made for TV Mock Trials

A friend/client sent me an article recently about a mock trial conducted in a high profile murder case in Texas which was featured on the television show 48 Hours. The article, by one of Magnus’ competitors, thoroughly discussed many of the reasons why the mock trial and real trial results were different. As it turned […]

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There are so many things wrong with the way in which these Texas attorneys performed their mock trial that it would take more than this post to comment on them. It is a travesty of justice for clients of attorneys who think they know more than anyone else about almost everything, including jury behavior. I […]

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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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