About Melissa Pigott

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So far Melissa Pigott has created 56 blog entries.

Psychologists Don’t Get Cheap Deals in Vegas – Lawyers Can

January 24th, 2023|

As a follow up to my previous post about psychologists and lawyers seeing the world differently, one particular distinction between people in these 2 professions is their understanding of statistics, including probability, and the impact of this distinction on the conferences they attend. I’m sure the reader is wondering what statistics and conferences could possibly have to do with one another, so let me explain. Because psychology is a scientifically based profession, graduate school includes courses in statistics. Even clinical psychologists and similar practitioners are required to study statistics because they need to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments

Psychologists and Lawyers See the World Differently

January 17th, 2023|

As I have stated in previous posts, I have had an interesting career, primarily because I have spent almost all of my professional life working with attorneys instead of with colleagues. Furthermore, my definition of “colleague” is narrow, in that I consider only other social psychologists as colleagues. The field of psychology is large, with most psychologists working in clinical practice and relatively few defining themselves as social psychologists or social/personality psychologists. Even larger than the profession of psychology is the legal profession. As a point of comparison, there are over 133,000 members of the American Psychological Association, while the

Jury is Greater than the Sum of Individual Juror Parts

January 10th, 2023|

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people behave in groups. There are many areas of research within social psychology, however, they share a common focus on how individual and group interactions are shaped by one’s external environment, specifically, other people. Numerous research findings have demonstrated the impact of the group on individual performance, with some studies revealing a positive effect and others, a negative effect. Positive effects of a group on individuals include satisfying our need for belonging, obtaining information, and defining social identity. Negative effects of groups on their members include groupthink, social loafing, and mob behavior.

Constant Giving Psychology Away

December 20th, 2022|

I am honored to have been a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) since the early 1980s, when I was in graduate school. The APA is the largest professional organization for psychologists in the world, with over 133,000 members. On the day I am writing this post, I have renewed my APA membership for next year, thus, it is interesting for this topic to be next on my list of topics about which to write. The APA supports all kinds of psychologists, from clinicians, to academics, to people who, like me, work in applied settings. Although we are a

Altruism & Helping Behaviors

December 13th, 2022|

Helping is one component of altruism. Other components are an orientation toward other people, instead of to oneself, and a generally prosocial outlook (as opposed to an antisocial outlook). Most theories of altruism include the component of enhancing other people’s welfare at some cost to oneself (in terms of time, money, etc.). Altruistic people are more likely than other people to derive benefit from helping others, such as increased self esteem, pleasure, or hope that their generosity will be reciprocated. Some social psychological theories of altruism consider it to be the opposite of aggression. Interestingly, there is considerably more research

Social Psych = Groups = Juries

December 6th, 2022|

Over the years, many people have asked me what makes me qualified to work as a jury/trial consultant. I explain that I have a Ph.D. in social psychology, which is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people and situations. Social thinking, social influence, and social behavior are studied by my colleagues and me, with the goal of understanding the ways in which individual and group behavior is influenced by others’ presence and behavior. In consideration of the fact that a jury is comprised of individual jurors, who must work together to

If You Don’t Have a Ph.D In Psychology Don’t Presume to Understand Human Nature

May 3rd, 2022|

I have written about the phenomenon of people who have no education, training, or expertise in psychology who think they know as much about human behavior as I, a psychologist, know. I am frequently asked for my opinion about someone or something, only to be told, “Well, I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I do know about my Uncle Bubba’s situation and it is different than what ‘them there’ books say.” When this happens, I usually shake my head, muster a fake smile, and wish the person well, knowing he/she will never be able to understand what

I Can’t Wait to Write a Survey

March 1st, 2022|

As a follow up to my previous post pertaining to things I love about my job, among my favorite work tasks is writing a survey. (Another of my favorite tasks is analyzing survey results, but I have written about that in a prior post.) Not only is writing a survey intellectually stimulating, the mere fact I have a survey to write means we have important work to do for a client. Hooray for client work! The activities involved in my survey preparation are: (1) read copious amounts of legal documents, provided by the client, about the case on which we

10 Things I Love About My Job

February 22nd, 2022|

I love my job! I truly do! My dear friend, Bob, has called me a workaholic since we met in 1980. I am a person who really likes to work! Being bored is not for me. I decided to think about the top 10 things I like about my job as a jury/trial consultant, which I have been performing since 1989. Here they are, in no particular order: 1. I like to help people. When Magnus’ clients contact us, they always have a problem they cannot solve without our help. It is rewarding to me to be trusted to

Elegantly Forceful

November 30th, 2021|

Magnus Research Consultants recently worked in Miami, where we have worked numerous times throughout the decades we have been in business. Most of the time when we are conducting mock jury research, the research participants/mock jurors are respectful toward one another, the Magnus staff, and me. Once in a while, however, one or more of them will overstep the line of decency, which is a guarantee they will be sent home, immediately. On this day in Miami, one of the mock jurors, who had volunteered to be the jury foreperson, refused to follow the instructions he was given by