Psychological research has joined the list of institutions we can no longer trust. That has major implications for trial lawyers. As we know, the findings from studies are often cited in the courtroom.
In The New York Times, Benedict Carey reports on how the credibility of three iconic research experiments has taken a major hit. With that Brand Psychology could be perceived as Brand Goofy. And all aspects of that discipline could be regarded with a smirk.
The three experiments are:
- The Stanford Prison Guard one which demonstrated that even playacting power can unleash significant cruelty. A few years ago there had been a film on it.
- The Marshmallow Test which predicted success for young children who could delay gratification. Dan Goleman's book on emotional intelligence made that famous.
- The ego-depletion research which concluded that willpower is a muscle which can be conditioned but which also can yield diminishing returns.
The attacks include issues of methodology and statistical bias.
In the 20th century science had become the new religion of America. In all persuasive professions, not only law, we were trained to give priority to those findings.
That was then.
Currently, individual experience has often become more trustworthy than the latest scientific research. When we are struggling to figure out what strategy or tactic to use in business the odds are we will analyze what Rupert Murdoch or the successful neighbor in the biggest house on the block has been doing.
I learn more about the dynamics of the labor market from listening to my coaching clients than from retrieving research reports by think tanks. They make reference to real-life experience from their offices.
Trial lawyers should keep that shift in mind when sizing up what to pitch to a jury.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Over-50: Outsmarting Your Comfort Zone” https://over-50.typepad.com/over-50/2018/05/outsmarting-your-comfort-zone-free-book.html
“Over-50: The Four Monsters in the Mind” https://over-50.typepad.com/over-50/2018/04/ageism-bites-.html