Beware of Extremist Bias

December 26th, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: When we engage in arguments, perhaps on social media or even around the table at Christmas dinner, it is easy to notice that there is something different about those at the extremes. Extremists are so filled with confidence about all of their beliefs, while those in the middle are likely to be more unsure or vacillating. That is a tendency observed in the social science laboratory as well; those who hold views at the extremes are much more sure about their beliefs. But researchers wondered whether that confidence was just a general trait or whether there

Client Made a Mistake? Focus on the Factors of Forgiveness

December 23rd, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Let’s say the client you represent in litigation did something wrong. And, let’s further say, that they understand that they need to admit it and ask a jury to get past it. There’s still a case to be tried: Maybe it focuses on damages, or on causation, or on some aspects of liability. But part of the message has to be, “We are sorry,” and part of the goal is to obtain some measure of forgiveness from jurors, at least up to the point that they aren’t too distracted by the mistake to look fully and

How Do “Anchors” Affect Damage Awards for Pain and Suffering?

December 19th, 2019|Litigation Insights|

“You can’t place a value on human life.” “No amount of money can bring someone back.” These are quotes we hear over and over from mock jurors, as they struggle to place a value on someone else’s suffering. Jurors often struggle more with this than any other part of their deliberations. In many ways, this is not surprising. Not only do jurors have little experience with the legal system as a whole, but they are being asked to do something that, to many of them, feels fundamentally wrong. How do you reduce someone’s life down to a simple figure? How

Reduce Repetition: Four Ways to Break the ‘We’ve Heard This’ Reaction

December 19th, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Yesterday was an historic day in the U.S. House of Representatives. For more than eight hours, Democratic and Republican members of the body gave short alternating speeches for and against the motion, before impeaching Donald Trump for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress. Watching the livestream on background as I worked in the office, I was quickly struck by how each side kept saying the same things over and over again. Democrats, in somber tones, repeated the facts and the timeline that we have all become familiar with, while Republicans, in emphatic expressions of disbelief,

Why I like spending time with lawyers

December 17th, 2019|2's Company - Magnus Insights|

Many people, including mock jurors and other research participants, courthouse personnel, friends, and attorneys, ask me if I am an attorney. Invariably, when this happens, I am wearing a dark, conservative business suit, the attire preferred by many attorneys with whom I am acquainted. I always answer, “No, I am not an attorney. I am a psychologist.” This answer often leads to a series of follow up questions, none of which are the subject of this post. Instead, this post is about why I like spending time with attorneys, including why I have chosen a career that involves spending time

Use Physical Exhibits: Be 3-D

December 16th, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Once, while I was monitoring a science-intensive agricultural contamination case, we asked permission for one of our expert witnesses to have the jurors peer into a dark box where they could see a petri dish with a bacteria culture under a black light. Our expert, not knowing better as it was his first time testifying, asked a juror, “Can you see it glowing?” “Yes!” the juror replied. of course, the other side swiftly objected to this educational conversation with a juror, but the purpose was served: For the jurors, it was a great interactive moment, like the best day