Friday, December 30, 2011

The Economics of Well-Being - Harvard Business Review

The Economics of Well-Being - Harvard Business Review

Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality - Harvard Business Review

Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality - Harvard Business Review

Trauma Boosts Toughness

Have you ever heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” 

New research done by Mark Seery and colleagues at the University of Buffalo has found that there may actually be some truth in it.  

Some horrible experiences, such as being assaulted, can cause psychological damage, but less drastic life challenges can help you develop psychological resilience.  

People that have gone through negative life events also have the highest level of mental toughness.  

These people who have been through difficult experiences have had an opportunity to develop their ability to cope and to learn how to get help from family and friends when they need it, Seery said.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interesting Article Predicting Case Value

When predicting potential jury verdicts, trial attorneys often seek second opinions from other attorneys. But how much weight do they give to these opinions, and how optimally do they use them? In a four-round estimation task developed by Liberman et al. (under review), pairs of law students and pairs of experienced trial attorneys estimated actual jury verdicts. When participants were given access to a partner's estimates, participants' accuracy improved in both groups. However, participants in both groups underweighted their partners' estimates relative to their own, with experienced attorneys giving less weight to their partners' opinions than did law students. In doing so, participants failed to reap the full benefits of statistical aggregation. In both groups, requiring partners to reach agreement on a joint estimate improved accuracy. This benefit was then largely retained when participants gave final individual estimates. In a further analysis, we randomly sampled estimates of various-sized groups. The accuracy of mean estimates substantially increased as group size increased, with the largest relative benefit coming from the first additional estimate. We discuss the implications of these findings for the legal profession and for the study of individual versus collective estimation.

What's an Apology Worth? Decomposing the Effect of Apologies on Medical Malpractice Payments Using State Apology Laws

Benjamin Ho 

Vassar College

Elaine Liu 

University of Houston

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 8, pp. 179-199, 2011 

Past studies find that apologies affect the outcomes of medical malpractice litigation, but such studies have largely been limited to laboratory surveys or case studies. Following Ho and Liu (2010), we use the passage of state‐level apology laws that exclude apologies from being used as evidence in medical malpractice cases, and estimate that apologizing to a patient in cases of medical malpractice litigation reduces the average payout by $32,000. This article seeks to unpack the mechanism of apologies by examining the differential impact of apologies laws by various subsamples. We find that apologies are most valuable for cases involving obstetrics and anesthesia, for cases involving infants, and for cases involving improper management by the physician and failures to diagnose.