Tag Archives: motivation

January 24, 2013

Scare With Care

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

If you’ve seen the Pixar animations feature Monsters, Inc., you might remember the slogan of the company in the title: “We scare, because we care.” Plaintiffs’ attorneys, particularly those who are followers of the Reptile approach to persuasion, may well have the same slogan. Since the perspective focuses on the idea that our primitive or ‘reptile’ mind is motivated by threats to our own security, trial lawyers using that approach will base their case on the threat and insecurity stemming from a defendant’s conduct, and frame a plaintiff’s verdict as a solution to that fear. Arguing that the events at issue in a case pose a threat to jurors and their loved ones, they suggest that the only solution is to use the power of the verdict in order to check that behavior. So based on this outlook, fear is useful: It’s a human motivator that plays a role in getting jurors to see a case in personally relevant terms and plaintiffs will add that they aren’t the only ones playing to fears. Defendants, they’ll say, have also either explicitly or implicitly played to fears: fear of false claims, runaway verdicts, and greedy plaintiffs, for instance.  Continue reading

June 21, 2012

Play It Where It Lies: Throughout Trial, Match the Message to the Mindset

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:


Once I was looking into the purchase of a new car. So I visited the showroom, not with the intent of purchasing that day, but with the more general goal of gathering information. I wasn’t there for two minutes, however, when the salesman hit me with the question, “So, what would I need to do to get you in a new car today?” I wanted to say, “Look, I teach persuasion, so I can name the technique you’re using — in Latin — and today it isn’t going to work.” Instead, I quickly made an excuse to leave and I visited another lot. The problem is that the salesman and I simply weren’t in sync. He was at the stage of wanting to clear away the obstacles and close the deal. I, on the other hand, was still in the investigation stage.  Continue reading

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