Mindfulness, Emotions, and Mental Models: Theory that Leads to More Effective Dispute Resolution

28 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2013 Last revised: 3 Sep 2016

See all articles by Peter Reilly

Peter Reilly

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: 2010


At the core of nearly all great negotiators, mediators, lawyers, and leaders is a person who has learned to connect with other people, that is, to build relationships of trust, cooperation, and collaboration. This Article argues that when people learn a sense of "self" and "other" through both theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding of mindfulness and human emotion, connections with others are more likely to be made, and important relationships are more likely to be built.

My goal, then, is to begin thinking about how one might bring mindfulness and emotions from the “mind level” to what human relations expert Mary Parker Follett eloquently called the “motor level.” Toward that end, the Article (1) provides some background on emotional intelligence, including the different branches of emotional intelligence; (2) explores the role of emotions in behaviors, including a discussion of ways to teach emotional control and emotional range, maturity, and sensitivity; (3) investigates the concept of "emotional contagion," delving into how emotions are spread and how this phenomenon can be used to increase cooperation; and (4) reviews suggestions from various experts on how to develop a curriculum to teach students emotional intelligence. The Article concludes with examples and exercises for application, including a discussion of a specific mental model called the "Ladder of Inference."

Keywords: Negotiation, emotion, emotional intelligence, mental models

Suggested Citation

Reilly, Peter, Mindfulness, Emotions, and Mental Models: Theory that Leads to More Effective Dispute Resolution (2010). 10 Nevada Law Journal 433 (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345487

Peter Reilly (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102

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