Be Careful What You Ask for: The Effect of Anchors on Personal Injury Damages Awards

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol. 6, p. 91, 2000

Posted: 14 Dec 2010 Last revised: 28 Feb 2011

See all articles by Roselle Wissler

Roselle Wissler

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Mollie W. Martie

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

These studies examined the effects of anchors in the context of personal injury damages awards. In 2 experiments, mock jurors read a case in which the presence and size of the plaintiff's damages request and the defense rebuttal were varied across conditions and then awarded damages. Award size and variability increased as the plaintiff's request increased but decreased with the most extreme request. Conversely, award size and variability decreased as the defense rebuttal decreased but increased with the most extreme rebuttal. In both studies, the award recommendations altered the upper and lower boundaries of awards mock jurors found acceptable but did not affect mock jurors' perception of injury severity. The findings suggest that award recommendations can produce biased and unpredictable awards. From Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 2, 91-103, 2000. DOI: 10.1037//1076-898X.6.2.91 Copyright © 2000 by the American Psychological Association. Reproduced with permission

Keywords: juror decision making, damages, anchoring

Suggested Citation

Wissler, Roselle and Martie, Mollie W., Be Careful What You Ask for: The Effect of Anchors on Personal Injury Damages Awards (2000). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol. 6, p. 91, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1725431

Roselle Wissler (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Mollie W. Martie

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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