Symposium on Bias in Decision Making

The Brooklyn Law School Legal Writing Program, the Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition and the Journal of Law and Policy are sponsoring a Symposium on The Impact of Cognitive Bias on Persuasion and Writing Strategies on Friday, March 1, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Subotnick Center, 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY. After opening remarks by BLS Professor Lawrence Solan, there will be two panels: Implications for Advocacy moderated by BLS Professor Marilyn Walter and Implications for Persuasion moderated by BLS Professor Elizabeth Fajans. View the full agenda here. Please RSVP online by Wednesday, February 27.

The Symposium will address research into the psychology of decision-making that has demonstrated that when people are called upon to process complex and ambiguous information, they rely on mental shortcuts to ease the cognitive burden of these tasks. Such heuristics and biases, as they are called, sometimes lead to faulty judgments because they are naturalistic and intuitive (involving, for example, “gut instincts” and personal experience), and prone to error more than are analytical judgments based on careful consideration and logical processing of the information presented.

The legal profession has explored the role of cognitive bias in many domains, ranging from their contributions to jury-based and judiciary decision-making to their influence on negotiation. This symposium refocuses the discussion by looking at the function and role of cognitive bias in legal writing and explores both the persuasive power and the related ethical challenges of cognitive bias in this realm, with an emphasis on improving legal writing and legal writing strategy.