Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brain Science, Story-Telling and Juror Persuasion

Brain science isn’t just something for your experts to expound. Brain science brings to light compelling ways you can use to convince jurors.

One of the most powerful findings is just how persuasive story-telling is. Straight-forward recitation of facts only engages a certain part of the brain, whereas a full rich story can engage the whole of a person’s brain.

How does this work? Briefly stated, Princeton researcher Uri Hasson explains how the brains of a person telling a story, and the brains of a person listening to that story, synchronize.

In other words, it’s not just the language processing portions of your brain that are activated when you both recount, and listen to, a story--it’s all the other areas of your brain that you would use to experience the events told.

For example, if the scent of a flower were part of the story, one’s sensory cortex would get activated. If the movement of body parts were described, one’s motor cortex would become active.

Professor Hasson concludes that a story is the only way to activate the listener’s brain, such that the listener turns the story into their own idea and experience. They identify, if you will, with the story told, and therein lies the persuasive power.

Story-telling isn’t just a nice way to dress up your case. Story-telling is integral to your ability to persuade the jurors.

And guess what? A simple story is more effective than a complicated one. So keep it simple, yes, but above all--tell the story.

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