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Archive for the ‘Simply Resisting Persuasion’ Category

We are now in ABA’s Blawg 100 Hall of Fame!

Monday, November 30, 2015
posted by Douglas Keene


We’ve recently been informed that The Jury Room has been inducted into the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame! Okay, it’s not a Pulitzer, but we are wildly happy about it. To our way of thinking, it is the greatest honor The Jury Room could be given. We appreciate the recognition. Closer to truth, we are shocked. Every December from 2010-2014 we have been delighted to be included in the Blawg 100, but this was not even on our radar screen. Here’s a link to the 2015 ABA Blawg Hall of Fame and a link to the 2015 Blawg 100 honorees.

Here’s how the ABA describes the Blawg 100 Hall of Fame:

In 2012, we established the Blawg 100 Hall of Fame for those blogs which had consistently been outstanding throughout multiple Blawg 100 lists. The inaugural list contained 10 inductees; this year, we added 10 more, bringing the total to 40.

And here is how they described this blog on their roster:

Trial consultants Douglas Keene and Rita Handrich find the research to alternately back up what you think you already know about human psychology (Is rudeness contagious? Yes.) and alert you to the unexpected (Are “beer goggles” real? No.) Posts are both fascinating reads and lessons on how not to base your cases on stereotypical assumptions.

We were inspired to begin blogging by Anne Reed (formerly of Deliberations blog and now leading the charge at the Wisconsin Humane Society). Once we got started blogging, we realized it was a wonderful way to keep up with the changing literature and to share what we were learning along the way. Looking back over the 900+ posts, we still find it interesting to blog as well as a great impetus for our own continuing education. Thank you, ABA Journal, for your recognition of our work over the last 6-1/2 years.

Doug and Rita

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Simply Resisting Persuasion: Digressing

Friday, January 28, 2011
posted by Douglas Keene

We’ve been doing our series on Simple Jury Persuasion for a while now and thought it might also be good to illustrate some of the most common ways we see people trying to resist persuasion (and then provide you ways to counter their resistance.  Researchers (and even popular writers) have studied this topic for years.

In a way that is only partly ironic, I have long asserted that I don’t believe in ‘persuasion’.  Rather, what I believe in is the ability to reduce resistance.  An assertion that meets no resistance is experienced as persuasive, but instead of adding an ingredient (trust and belief) to their evaluation of the facts, you are removing one (skepticism, mistrust).  So it may look like persuasion, but its actually about ways you will see jurors resist what you have to say.  The goal is to tell the story in a way that aligns with their values, and consequently encounters less resistance.

We’ll look at one strategy per post and this series won’t be nearly as long as our ongoing Simple Jury Persuasion strategies. It’s meant simply as a set of tools for you to use when bad things happen.


We all know what digression is—it’s what politicians do when they don’t like your question (also known as ‘artful dodging’). It’s what an untrustworthy other does when they have done something about which you should be concerned. It’s a powerful tactic to divert your attention and make you forget the actual question that elicited the dodge. In court, their digression and your response may look like this:

“Please tell us why your product is better than theirs.”

“Thanks for asking that question. You know, I’ve really wanted to talk about how we developed the product that millions of people worldwide have used and appreciated…”

“Excuse me, I want to make sure you heard the question correctly. The question is not about product marketing but about product quality. Again, please tell us why your product is better than theirs.”

You are neither rude nor agitated.  You can even express the same confusion that the jurors might be experiencing (thus aligning with them:

“I don’t think I heard an answer to the question.  Let’s try it again…”

You are simply focused on the task at hand (and on not wasting the jury’s time).
Jacks, J., & Cameron, K. (2003). Strategies for Resisting Persuasion Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 25 (2), 145-161 DOI: 10.1207/S15324834BASP2502_5

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