Archive | Magnus Research

Dialing for Dollars

Part of my job operating a small business is marketing; part of that marketing effort involves making sales calls. I think most business people, small or large, can relate. It (the business) is (almost) all about the marketing. Some of these are to “friendlies” – that is, past clients or contacts. Some of these calls […]

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In our business, sales and marketing calls are a fact of life. I daresay I have spent more time during my career in marketing/sales pursuits than in doing any other task. If there is no marketing, in fact, there will be no work for anyone at Magnus to perform. Over the years we have been […]

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Followers

I have heard some parents extol their children’s leadership abilities while, simultaneously, praising their children for not being a follower, “like everyone else.” This dual conception of leadership, while it may appear on the surface to be accurate, is not supported by decades of social psychological research. Most widely accepted social psychological definitions of leadership […]

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“Lead, follow, or get out of my way.” This quote from General George S. Patton, Jr. is quoted with some variation in many discussions about leaders and followers. It came to my mind reading Melissa’s post. Her post made me realize that considering what leads to following is perhaps more interesting in some ways than […]

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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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Leaders

Leaders and leadership have been studied by social psychologists for decades. The most widely accepted definition of leader is a person who influences group activities. A leader is someone who uses social power to move others in a desired direction by getting other people to follow his/her suggestions or orders. Most people, at one time […]

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Organizational leadership is also a well studied field, but given our day to day work, I want to comment on the foreperson as leader fallacy that Melissa mentioned. As Melissa pointed out, forepersons are often nominated based on some form of experience. I was nominated as foreperson when I served on a jury because, after […]

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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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Rewards/Reinforcement

Learning about the relationship of environmental events and behavior is known in psychology as instrumental conditioning. Instrumental conditioning has been studied extensively since the late 1800s, when a psychologist named Dr. E. L. Thorndike devised the “law of effect.” The law of effect, in its simplistic form, is a successful behavior will increase the probability […]

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Over our many years in business, we have used rewards in the form of bonuses or gifts to employees for jobs well done. These have taken various forms, whether end of year/holiday bonuses or a bonus for a research day completed well, as well as other forms, like gift cards for dinners or weekend getaways. […]

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Persuasion

The study of attitudes and attitude change has a long tradition in social psychology. Related to attitude change is the concept of persuasion, the process by which attitude change occurs. In my role as a litigation/jury consultant, I assist attorneys become persuasive communicators, with the goal being to convince the jury, arbitrators, or judge to […]

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Litigation is unique, when compared to other arenas where persuasion is important, such as advertising or marketing. With an advertising campaign, the ads, whether billboards, print media, social media, television, radio, or other formats, are often tested with focus groups, etc. And, once refined, the ad campaign is launched in a fashion where a wide […]

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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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