NEUROLAW NOVEMBER IV – Neuroscience and Memories

This is the final article in the Neurolaw November series. If you have not yet done so, I highly recommend that you read the Introduction to Neurolaws written by my colleague Maureen Jacob, as well as the other parts in the series. As described well in her article, the foundation of Neurolaws is a simple…

All you need to know on the Hindsight Bias

A few months ago, I published a #30in30 regarding the hindsight bias. As I promised, during this essay, I will give you more information on the impacts on the legal profession as well as on debiasing this classic behavioral bias. This article will be a thorough introduction. Hence, there is no need to read the…

#30in30 – Hot to Cold or Cold to Hot?

People generally underestimate how their body (or more precisely: their visceral drives, including hunger, thirst, drug cravings, physical pain and mere emotions) is influencing their behavior and decision-making. The legal profession is prone to this bias as much as anyone, as we will discover in the following. While workings of this bias within our private…

#30in30 – Two Bags of Marbles

You are presented two bags. One contains 700 red chips and 300 blue chips, while the other one is opposite with 700 blue chips and 300 red ones. You are given the choice between the bags. Take one and begin to sample with replacement. In twelve samples, you get 8 reds and 4 blues. What…

#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 – Why Everyone Thinks he’s Smarter than You

(Reading time: 2 min read)

The next time you hear the words “Had you asked me, I could have told you that would happen” you will remember: There is no rational reason to be annoyed. Our brains cannot help but think this way: Tricked by the Hindsight Bias, people tend to rate the likelihood of events higher when already knowing the actual outcome.
What is annoying in our everyday lives can turn hazardous when giving legal advice to your clients. Moreover, both judges and juries are likely to be misguided into applying a much higher standard of proof – especially in cases involving unresolved questions of negligence.