Archive | Psychology

Consistency

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 20, 2018

Category: Jury Behavior, Litigation Consultants, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consulting

Most people perceive themselves as acting consistently across time and situations. Not only do most people like to appear consistent, in order to manage others’ impressions of them, they also like to appear consistent to themselves. This desire for consistency has strong effects on people’s behavior, particularly in group situations. Consistency has implications for people’s […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 20, 2018

Category: Jury Behavior, Litigation Consultants, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Research, Psychology, Trial Consulting

Because I’ve heard Melissa conducing educational programs on jury selection, I want to comment on one way the knowledge of the human desire to appear consistent is of importance to trial lawyers. In the chess game of jury selection, where the options are pre emptory strike (limited numbers), challenge for cause (no limits), or accept, […]

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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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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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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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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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DON’T SPEND TIME WITH JERKS

Due to the PG rated content of posts on the Magnus Insights blog, I changed the last word of the title of this post from what it used to say to “jerks.” “Jerks” is, perhaps, not as colorful as the word I originally used in the title, however, it is less likely to offend the […]

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Lest it seem that Melissa is singling anyone out in my family, she has also been selective in time spent with people on her side of the family, and its extensive, extended, branches. In fact, I think she started her selectivity with them. And, then with some friends who seemed to be unidirectional friends. It […]

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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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