794 P - Law & Psychology
Professor: Deborah Jones Merritt
Semester: 2009 Winter
Second Writing? No
Professional Responsibility? No
Law practice requires complex decision making, accurate appraisal of other people, and persuasive advocacy. Lawyers and their clients analyze disputes, decide how to structure business deals, determine when to accept offers in negotiation, evaluate the truthfulness of adversaries, and make a large number of other sophisticated decisions. When engaging in these activities, lawyers also attempt to influence the decisions of others; they try to persuade jurors, judges, opponents, business partners, legislators, and the public to favor their client’s position.
Recent psychology research sheds surprising light on how people make decisions and how they can best persuade others. This course examines that research, exploring the various factors that drive human decision making and influence persuasiveness. The course applies this research to a variety of specific contexts in which lawyers serve as decision makers and advocates. By drawing upon the insights of modern cognitive science, the course prepares law graduates to enhance their decision making and advocacy in a broad number of roles. No prior training in psychology or social science research is necessary.
There is no final exam in this course. Instead, students complete several short assignments during the semester and write a final paper of approximately 10-pages on a subject of their choice.
This course may count toward the 15 credit hours required for the Certificate in Dispute Resolution. A student who completes the course and writes his or her final paper on an approved alternative dispute resolution topic will have all three credit hours count toward the certificate. A student who does not write his or her final paper on an ADR issue will earn one certificate credit hour.
The course materials listed above are for informational purposes only and should not be considered final. Students must check with the Registrar for a current list of closed courses.