Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New "skills" scholarship: "Priming legal negotiations through written demands"

This article is by Professor Carrie Sperling of Arizona State and can be found at 60 Cath. U. L. Rev. 107 (2010). From the abstract provided by Lexis:

Although little research has been done on the effects of priming in negotiations, the words lawyers use in a demand letter almost certainly have some priming effect on their recipients. ... I was amazed at my own reaction to my neighbor's written demand, and I experienced, first hand, the power of the written word to ignite emotions and to initiate and guide behaviors. ... These priming studies provide powerful evidence that written words drive unconscious emotions and behaviors. ... Amazingly, though, by priming participants with the professor stereotype ("intelligence"), the researchers were able to increase the participants' scores by sixteen percent over those primed with the soccer hooligan stereotype ("stupidity"). ... By priming group-oriented concerns, demand letters have the potential of drawing another party into negotiations with more cooperative behavior that will lead all the parties to a more satisfactory settlement. ... Procedural rules do not hinder the parties' written negotiations. ... Because texts on negotiation fail to cover the demand letter, lawyers seeking advice on how to start negotiations in writing can only turn to common practice or legal-writing texts.




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