#30in30 – Burying our Heads in the Sand

I am not sure whether the saying “to bury one’s head in the sand” is known worldwide. In Germany it is associated with ostriches, allegedly burying their head to avoid danger. Of course, this is a mere fairy tale. But from the image in our mind, we can draw interesting conclusions – for our personal…

#30in30 – Use their Mood to win the Game

(Reading time: 3 min read)

Long before starting to study brain behavior and beginning to understand a little bit about how we make certain decisions, I – as a litigation lawyer – had to try to convince judges to rule according to my client’s claim. To reach my objectives, of course I did my part of the job: I understood the case, went through the documents, made all the legal research, and tried to write the facts in a clear and coherent way. As much as I believed in the case, however, I could never know for sure what to expect from another human’s mind. That is why my lucky amulet and my special prayer for a “judge’s good mood” were always there before a hearing or the submission of an important motion.

#30in30 – Fooled by Fundamentals

(Reading time: 2 Min read)

The Base Rate Fallacy is a formal fallacy. It occurs when too little weight is placed on the probability base rate of an event. People are succumbing to the base rate fallacy when erroneously judging the likelihood of an event without taking into account all the relevant data. The underlying mechanism is an overt focus on new information without acknowledging how this impacts the original assumptions. Old information is still evaluated and taken into account, however the newer pieces of information are given too much weight.

#30in30 – Choose Pictures over Words

(Reading time: 2 min read)

The picture superiority effect implies that human memory is more likely to remember pictures rather than words. The American psychologist, Allan Paivio, discovered that our memory uses both verbal associations and visual imagery to represent information. The advantage of pictures over verbal information has large implications in advertisement and education. But this effect also has an influence on the judicial system of jury-trial courts.

#30in30 – When you see it, it will chase you “Catch me if you can.”

(Reading time: 3 min read)

The 30 in 30 Briefing Series focuses on a new cognitive bias, fallacy or heuristic in every single publication. Through this Briefing we want to provide you with a rough overview of the cognitive phenomena most likely to occur in the legal profession. Today’s content: Frequency illusion, or also known as Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

It has to be understood in conjunction with the Confirmation Bias: A combination of both has ample potential to turn out harmful for legal research.

#30in30 – Your Brain tends to look on the dark side of life

(Reading time: 3 min read)

The “negativity bias” impacts our life in every dimension. eople are more likely to evaluate a doctor online when they want to complain about something rather than when they are completely pleased with their treatment. You should consider applying this thought to your legal profession as well. It further impacts the communication with your clients and co-workers. The CEO of Good Think Inc., even found evidence that a more positive attitude towards life makes us more productive!

#30in30 – Good Mood – Better Decisions

(Reading time: 3 min read)

The “mood congruency effect” is not limited to your thoughts or memories, but it can also affect the types of decisions you make. According to Mayer, Gaschke, Braverman, and Evans (1992) who coined the term “mood congruency in judgments”, happy people are more likely than sad people to expect nice weather for a picnic, because nice weather is congruent with their pleasant mood.As lawyers, it is of extreme importance to be aware of the effect that mood has on decision making. This awareness ….