Archive | Jury Behavior

It’s a Big Job!

Melissa and I have mentioned we are undergoing a big home improvement project this year. It is not one we wanted to undertake: a new roof! We first heard “It’s a big job” when securing bids for the roof project. “It’s a big roof, it’s a big job….” Well, yes it is. Isn’t that great? […]

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I’m proud to say that, in almost 30 years of owning and operating Magnus, David and I have never had a job that was too big to accept.  When prospective clients ask me if I have ever worked on a “big” case, implying that I might not have the expertise to work on their case, […]

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Brave New World

Recent conversations with several attorneys prompted this post. The title many will recognize is from a 1931 book by English author Aldous Huxley, and I have to say, I’ve never read it. But, here we are in the 3rd quarter of 2021 and I have to say that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other […]

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As David and I have written before, there are some people (like us) who thrive on change and there are others who prefer the status quo and/or wish things were “like they used to be.”  The latter types of people are, for the most part, boring to me.  Change is part of human existence and, […]

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Quantifying Change

It is an exciting time to be a data nerd – the 2020 Census data are trickling out. And, apologies to Bob Dylan, with the times, the data are a-changing! The key data points released thus far confirm the growing diversity of America. I’ve been looking at some of the numbers for Florida, with a […]

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I’m thrilled that David decided to write about this topic!  I am the embodiment of the definition of “science nerd” and “data nerd.”  I love both science and the data obtained from research more than almost anything.  (The recent refusal of some people to believe in science, particularly medical science, is mind numbing to me, […]

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Leadership styles

Many people wonder how leaders emerge. Some people endorse the view that certain people are “born leaders,” while others believe leadership is a skill that is acquired. Organizational psychologists have studied leaders, leadership, and leadership styles for decades to determine what traits separate effective leaders from leaders who lack effectiveness, the situations in which leadership […]

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I often learn new things in reading what Melissa has written.  As someone whose graduate work was in the Organizational Behavior field (the business school version of I/O psychology), leadership is a familiar topic.  But, considering her perspective on how leadership plays out in the jury decision making process is enlightening.  Melissa is the expert […]

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Heuristical thinking

Biases and heuristics often, but not always, go hand in hand. While bias is attributed to the absence of reflective thought, leading to limitations in judgment, heuristics are used intentionally when making inferences. Heuristics are common sense reasoning strategies employed by laypersons. They are “shortcuts” that accelerate the decision making process. Heuristics may or may […]

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Magnus’ reports often contain a section entitled “Heuristics” and, when I’m showing our sample report to prospective clients, I usually have to explain what a heuristic is and why it is important.  I typically explain that heuristics are the ways that the jurors relate to a case – in their own language.  Whether it is […]

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Social desirability

Social desirability has important implications in jury selection. Social desirability refers to the phenomenon of saying or doing something because “everybody else” does. For example, when an attorney or a judge asks a prospective juror whether he/she can put aside all biases, predisposed beliefs, and personal feelings and instead, be an impartial judge of the […]

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Answering a question in a socially desirable way implies there is a “right” or expected answer, to some degree.  In the basic courtroom questioning of prospective jurors as to whether they “can be fair,” it is pretty obvious that one is not expected to say “no”.  Being fair is a fundamental trait that most people […]

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Sorting out responses and non responses

A few months ago, Melissa and I were talking with one of our favorite clients, Buddy Schulz, when he commented that Melissa’s job during jury selection involved sorting out responses, and non responses, of potential jurors. He was noting that it is one thing to evaluate what someone says during jury selection (or perhaps with […]

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Jury selection involves, at least for me, interpreting and de-coding the things people say and do and the things they don’t say or do.  In fact, I spend just as much time observing the nuances of people’s behavior as I do in listening to the words they say.  When a potential juror is being questioned […]

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Altruists and Narcissists

As a follow up to my last post containing the self assessment survey, I will outline several characteristics that differentiate altruists from narcissists. First of all, some definitions are in order, lest there be any doubt about these terms. An altruist is a person who has concern for other people’s welfare. He or she can […]

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Givers or takers.  Perhaps that is another way to relate to this topic.  The world has too many examples of narcissists; it is easy to identify many of them in the political realm.  Because politics is public, it is easiest to see them, though narcissists are certainly not limited to politics.  Examples from the business […]

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Putting Technology to Use

I was prompted to write this, and the prior post, because of Magnus’ recent move. The move necessitated discarding many tools which have been useful during our careers in trial consulting. When we started Magnus in late 1993, Melissa began to receive invitations to speak to groups of lawyers, insurance adjusters, and law school students. […]

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Thanks, in large part, to David, Magnus has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to using the most up to date technology.  I have been making presentations to large audiences for my entire career.  In the old days, when I was Director of Marketing Research at a large urban hospital, an A/V […]

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How Well do You Know Yourself?

One of the things I enjoy most in life is designing scientific research, including experiments and surveys. Now that I, like most people I know, have more free time than usual, due to worldwide circumstances beyond my control, I decided to devise a personality inventory to allow people to conduct a self assessment. The short […]

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Strange times have caused many strange reactions and behaviors.  Melissa’s survey asks some pertinent questions.  We have friends and family members who are coping with the pandemic, and with politics, in very different ways.  These are, without a doubt, tough times and our country, our world, is incredibly divided.  How we manage our stresses and […]

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