Archive | Litigation 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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The New World Order

Melissa and I have attempted do two things consistently with the posts we write. First, we try to be tactful, and not insult anyone. Second, we strive to be timeless, not dating our posts by the topic. This post breaks the 2nd rule, but hopefully, not the first objective. The topic is what some have […]

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Although many people cannot agree about politics, most people will agree politics have divided us into “us and them” factions more than, perhaps, any time in recent history. All of the people who are “us,” whatever that means on a personal basis, believe all of the people who are “them” are wrong, while all of […]

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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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Sleeping Beauties

The role of a trial juror is critical in American justice and yet, jurors are often criticized collectively by many trial lawyers and the general public. Being a juror is a difficult job; sitting in judgment of your fellow citizens can be very stressful, and trials are not nearly as exciting and fast paced as […]

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Sadly for most people who are selected to be on a jury, there are few attorneys who possess the oratory skills required to keep them interested in the case, not to mention engaged. I have had the pleasure to observe some skillful trial lawyers in my career as a jury/trial consultant, including Buddy Payne, J. […]

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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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Conformity

Almost everyone knows the meaning of conformity. From an early age, we are taught to conform with others’ ways of doing things, to go along with group norms, and to desire to be like everyone else. Few of us actually think about the strong social pressures designed to ensure our conformity; we tend to “go […]

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Melissa states that understanding conformity is part of understanding that a group is stronger than its individual parts. That is, in our litigation consulting world, a jury is stronger than a single juror, even if a single juror can “hang” a jury. My comments conform to her statement, but I want to expand it beyond […]

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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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I like my plants better than you

David frequently remarks that, for a social psychologist, I sometimes don’t seem too fond of people! I reply to his observation by reminding him I have had the opportunity to observe far too many people through a one way mirror, such that I know how people conduct themselves when they don’t realize anyone is watching! […]

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I’m seeing a pattern here. Melissa prefers those people, animals, plants and things which bring her happiness and pleasure. Those which don’t, well, she’s honest enough to differentiate. And, I can attest to her seriousness of caring for the plants. For many people, me included, a focus on plant well being is not a natural […]

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