Visual Dominance and Intermodal Sensory Redundancy
The dress and tone re-enforced the professional atmosphere. I perceived all were doing their job. We were all cleanly shaven, too. Again, this all gave the appearance that it was a meeting of well-educated and reasonable professionals.
Since everyone was dressed similarly and maintained a polite, professional tone, the focus was able to be on the messages and their reasonableness. My attorneys presented my case, and the other attorney listened. In fact, I do not recall him saying much at all. He had to make a few phone calls to his supervisors at some point, which took a couple of hours. However, when all returned, the mediator explained how reasonable his offer was. My attorneys re-enforced that assessment; this represents another kind of intermodal sensory redundancy—two sets of people, dressed as professionals in this setting, re-enforcing a message.
The mediator’s message was that it was very close to an award provided in a trial of a similar case. He also acknowledged that a jury of people in that county may have not felt terribly sorry for me because of my profession. They would hear of my salary, and they may question giving more money to me. One of the jobs of an attorney is to understand the demographics of the county in which he or she practices; so that he or she could anticipate an outcome at trial. So, I appreciated that information, and it affected a decision.
112 Persuasion, Perception, and the Law Cognition: Perception and Decision
I decided to accept the amount offered. The mediator’s observations that the amount was consistent with a jury award and that a jury may not give more money influenced me considerably. I also asked my attorneys their perception of the offer, and both agreed it was reasonable. So, my perception was that it would be reasonable, and I decided to accept it rather than go to trial.