Archive | Trial Consulting

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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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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Portable Food/Defensive Eating

It harkens back to my Boy Scout, “Be Prepared” days, but this topic of portable food is another of those basic, seemingly common sense items, that may not be so common “sensical” to everyone. The concept is simple. Schedules change, flights get delayed, the judge decides to work through lunch, the research facility is behind […]

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During my first interview for a job as a trial consultant, which took place in Manhattan, the experienced consultant who interviewed me asked if I was aware that working as a trial consultant required “defensive eating.” Maybe because I was awed at the sight of the Manhattan skyline from high above 57th Street, or uncomfortable […]

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Chains or Local Restaurants?

On this dimension, I have observed that people fall into 1 of 2 categories. There are people who prefer large, national chain restaurants over local restaurants and those, like me, who prefer local restaurants over chains, for the most part. Perhaps I learned this from my Dad, who was always on the road during his […]

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No offense to the readers of this post who like chain restaurants, however, as a rule, I loathe them. I will go out of my way to avoid eating at a chain restaurant whenever possible. I prefer to patronize local eateries wherever I travel, both for business and pleasure. There are exceptions, of course, including […]

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Jet Lag

Travel for business can be strenuous; so can personal travel, for that matter. And time zone crossing travel just adds to that stress. Having made 3 trips to Australia, I know about time zone crossing. Melissa and I don’t do international trips for work, but crossing even 1 or 2 or 3 time zones across […]

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Believe me: I know all about jet lag.  Early in my career as a trial consultant, I lived in Atlanta, but worked in Boston, for a company based in Los Angeles, where I had to go on a frequent basis.  In any given week, I “commuted” from Atlanta to Boston on Monday, then traveled with […]

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Look it up

These days, information awaits us almost everywhere. Merely by typing a name, phrase, or word into any cell phone’s search engine, one can find out a plethora of information about that person, corporation, town, entity, etc. A couple of years ago, I had a “creepy feeling” about one of Magnus’ vendors. I typed his name […]

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Before there were millennials, I sometimes turned to my younger brother, Stephen, and asked him questions to look up somewhere. If the subject was of interest to him, on sharks or alligators and rock & roll, for example, he’d be my information source. That was after my days with an outdated World Book Encyclopedia at […]

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