Utilizing Cognitive Biases to Legal Advantage

Cognitive Bias in Jury Damages

Utilizing Cognitive Biases to Legal Advantage

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Utilizing Cognitive Biases to Legal Advantage
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Assuming that the putative view of an ordinary citizen, unaffiliated with the judicial system, is one that the merits of a case are based solely based upon a presentation of facts is common. However, several psychological predispositions illustrate the strategic role that attorney’s assume in jury selection. Understanding the philosophy underlying the moral psychology of the mind offers insights into how both the case for plaintiffs and defendants are open to suggestive framing.

The determination and award of damages in cases that comprise compensatory damages is easily quantified, however considering pain and suffering compensation presents fertile ground for legal study. Empirical studies of jury awards demonstrate that the framing of damage by plaintiffs is influential to the outcome. Similarly, preconceived notions of sexual harassment and prior psychological trauma bear influence upon cases that counsel must be aware of to mitigate.

In examining the method of presentation for claims of ‘pain and suffering,’ the calculating formula influences jury awards in certain situations. A study by McAuliff and Bornstein, demonstrates that the manner in which pain and suffering damage recommendations are presented to juries introduces variability (McAuliff & Bornstein, 2009). Presenting potential jurors with multiple scenarios that frame the data differently, yet each amount to the same totals, justifies a strategic dimension for attorneys. McAuliff and Bornstein particularly note that their findings may point to the fact that jurors are unlikely to do any actual calculations, but rely upon heuristics to “shortcut” their views on the merits of a damage recommendation:

Pain and suffering awards were larger for the $10/hour per diem argument and $175,000 lump sum conditions compared to the $7,300/month per diem argument and no award recommendation conditions. The difference between participants’ awards in the $240/day condition and all other conditions was not statistically significant (McAuliff & Bornstein, 2009, p. 172).

The noteworthiness of the findings lies in uncovering that attorney’s are more apt to win higher damages if recommendations are based on a seemingly low per diem rate of 10.00 per hour, rather than providing a mathematically equivalent rate of 7,300.00 per month provides a more concrete basis for a juror to conclude the damages are excessive. The contrasting damage recommendation of 7,300.00 per month illustrates that jurors may be shifting their focus from an assessment of fair damages based upon the case to a comparative measure of the monthly amount. If jurors were fully engaged in a conscious calculation of damages based upon the merits of the case, then the study should not have found any statistically significant variation in per diem awards.

Furthermore, the plaintiff’s damage recommendation is found to provide an “anchor” that frames the juror’s calculation of noneconomic damages, pain and suffering, so long as the suggested amount was not extreme that results in higher awards (McAuliff & Bornstein, 2009, p. 171).

The maneuverings of counsel to play upon the cognitive limitations and predispositions of jurors is similarly illustrated in considering sexual harassment cases. In findings by Kovera and Cass, seeking damages for mental harm can open the realm of a plaintiff’s psychological history up for defense scrutiny (Kovera & Cass, 2002). A plaintiff’s history of experiencing sexual abuse or trauma, in unrelated instances to the case in question, may influence a juror’s assessment of meeting the standards for a hostile work environment or unwanted advances if a claim of mental abuse seeks damages. Kovera and Cass particularly note, “women were more likely than men to find that the behaviors in question constituted sexual harassment,” and, “without exception, women’s judgments on each of these measures were more proplaintiff than men’s judgment,” (Kovera & Cass, 2002, pp. 100-101). Although some courts are noted to employ a standard of a “reasonable woman” in determining harassment, the efforts to negate the gender bias have been ineffective, “expert testimony did not completely eliminate gender differences in decision making; men were still less likely overall to assign responsibility to the defendant than women, even when they heard expert testimony,” (Kovera & Cass, 2002, p. 102).

Emphasizing the gender gap of determining sexual harassment and the damage awards that would follow illustrates that counsel may strategically seek to seat more female jurors than men to aid plaintiffs. Furthermore, attorney’s formulating arguments to recommend noneconomic damages are best served by either a lump sum higher, but reasonably so, than they seek to set an “anchor” for jurors to judge, or using a low per diem rate that appears comparatively modest, regardless of timespan calculations. Attorney’s that are aware of the cognitive functions and predispositions of people are best situated to formulate strategies and arguments to enhance their client’s interests.

Works Cited

Kovera, M.B., & Cass, S.A. (2002). Compelled Mental Health Examinations, Liability Decisions, and Damage Awards in Sexual Harassment Cases. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 8 (1), 96-114.

McAuliff, B., & Bornstein, B. (2009, May 22). All Anchors Are Not Created Equal: The Effects of Per Diem vs. Lump Sum Requests on Pain and Suffering Awards. Law Human Behavior, 164-174.

What Will You Get?

We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.

Premium Quality

Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.

Experienced Writers

Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.

On-Time Delivery

Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.

24/7 Customer Support

Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.

Complete Confidentiality

Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.

Authentic Sources

We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.

Moneyback Guarantee

Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.

Order Tracking

You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.


Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.


Trusted Partner of 9650+ Students for Writing

From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.

Preferred Writer

Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.

Grammar Check Report

Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.

One Page Summary

You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.

Plagiarism Report

You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.

Free Features $66FREE

  • Most Qualified Writer $10FREE
  • Plagiarism Scan Report $10FREE
  • Unlimited Revisions $08FREE
  • Paper Formatting $05FREE
  • Cover Page $05FREE
  • Referencing & Bibliography $10FREE
  • Dedicated User Area $08FREE
  • 24/7 Order Tracking $05FREE
  • Periodic Email Alerts $05FREE

Our Services

Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.

  • On-time Delivery
  • 24/7 Order Tracking
  • Access to Authentic Sources
Academic Writing

We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.

Professional Editing

We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.

Thorough Proofreading

We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.


Delegate Your Challenging Writing Tasks to Experienced Professionals

Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!

Check Out Our Sample Work

Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality

All samples
Thesis/Thesis chapter
Research paper
Essay (any type)
creating a Code of Conduct
View this sample
Research paper
Week 1 Journal Assignment
Undergrad. (yrs 3-4)
Human Resources Management (HRM)
View this sample
Research paper
Cultural Intelligence Presentation
View this sample
Research paper
Communicable Disease
View this sample
Research paper
Mental health
View this sample
Essay (any type)
Personalized Glossary of Research and Assessment Terms
View this sample

It May Not Be Much, but It’s Honest Work!

Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.


Happy Clients


Words Written This Week


Ongoing Orders


Customer Satisfaction Rate

Process as Fine as Brewed Coffee

We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.

See How We Helped 9000+ Students Achieve Success


We Analyze Your Problem and Offer Customized Writing

We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.

  • Clear elicitation of your requirements.
  • Customized writing as per your needs.

We Mirror Your Guidelines to Deliver Quality Services

We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.

  • Proactive analysis of your writing.
  • Active communication to understand requirements.

We Handle Your Writing Tasks to Ensure Excellent Grades

We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.

  • Thorough research and analysis for every order.
  • Deliverance of reliable writing service to improve your grades.
Place an Order Start Chat Now