Archive | Litigation Tips

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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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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One Size Does NOT Fit All

When David and I founded our company, Magnus Research Consultants, we did so with the intention of providing our clients with high quality litigation research and consulting, customized to every case. It was, and still is, our view that there are: (1) no two cases that are exactly alike, regardless of their degree of similarity; […]

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Melissa’s post expands upon some of the comments I’ve made in this recent series.  In four years of writing this blog, it has been interesting to see what experiences we have that trigger blog posts, or a series of posts.  This email conversion experience surely has been an instructive reminder of how Melissa and I […]

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Too many lawsuits, too many lawyers…

All of us who work with, for, or who are, lawyers, have heard it over and over, “there are too many lawyers/lawsuits” or “lawsuits are frivolous.” Sometimes this includes a reference to McDonald’s and coffee, but it is a comment that we at Magnus hear often in some form. I heard it recently when asked […]

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I am constantly amazed by many people’s willingness to say and do things that dispel any doubt that they have no idea about the subject they are speaking. I have lost count of the number of times when, after revealing my occupation to a layperson, he/she immediately regales me with boring accounts of jury duty; […]

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Department of Justice Eyewitness Guidelines

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 6, 2017

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

As I noted in a previous post, research into eyewitness accuracy was a starting point in my business partner/wife’s study of psychology and the law. I suppose it is normal in the course of things that science, specifically psychology, was ahead of the law. Law is usually based on precedents, while social science is based […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 6, 2017

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

I will begin my part of this post by saying how impressed I am that David is interested in my colleagues’ and my research on eyewitness testimony. I am also glad that, after over 50 years of psychological research on this topic, the Department of Justice finally implemented procedures to enhance the accuracy of eyewitness’ […]

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