How Acknowledging Our Ignorance Can Improve Dispute Resolution

Research being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley, among other places, shows that reputed “experts” or “pundits” whose predictions and forecasts form the basis of policy and strategic decisions are, quite simply, wrong about as often as they are right. There is no material statistical support for the accuracy of expert forecasts. The following quote from a terrific article by Dan Gardner and Philip Tetlock, entitled “Overcoming Our Aversion To Acknowledging Our Ignorance” ( gives a trenchant summary: Despite massive amounts of money, effort, and ingenuity, our ability... Read More

More Thinking, Fast & Slow in Dispute Resolution

Mediate to Overcome Cognitive Biases Readers may be familiar with Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 best selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow. The book synthesizes for a popular audience the 35 years of research in human cognition and behavior that earned him a Nobel Prize in economics in 2002. Kahneman, himself a psychologist, offers singular insight into human cognitive processes. His work has profound implications for all fields of decision-making, not the least of which is the resolution of disputes. The book identifies almost two-dozen “cognitive biases” — errors of reasoning, of... Read More

Thinking, Fast and Slow

An extraordinary book by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. Not an easy read, but it will change, for the better, how you think about thinking. The insights can be applied in any number of situations we encounter, including how people react to conflict. Assimilating the concepts that Kahneman presents can make you more effective in confronting and resolving disputes. I will post more about his specific research findings directly related to meditations.

Avoiding Costly Conflict Escalation through Assisted Process Design

Growing acceptance of mediation and other consensual processes is allowing lawyers and their clients more readily to reach resolutions that avoid the risk and prohibitive cost of a trial. Many cases still drag on too long, taking on a life of their own, only to be settled out of exhaustion, with relief and resignation, on the eve of trial. Why does this cycle keep repeating itself? The core reason is the intrinsic tendency of conflict to escalate once it is underway. The investment of time, psychic energy and money breeds... Read More
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