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Visual Dominance

The episode occurred in a courtroom where testimony was given to a jury. Much of the trial was also broadcasted to a television audience live, and video of the effort to put the gloves on exists at YouTube. The jury and any others watching the scene could clearly see that Mr. Simpson was having considerable difficulty putting the gloves on. If he had in fact worn the gloves, as the prosecution asserted, they should have gone on relatively easily, even with the latex gloves on. One could assume some difficulty given the latex gloves, but Simpson should have been able to put them on much more easily than he did. The image of his struggle to put on the gloves and very awkward appearance once they were on as far as they could go on could only mean that the gloves truly did not fit at all in the first place.

114 Persuasion, Perception, and the Law Prior Experience

An audience could draw from their own experience with tight gloves that one who struggled so much with a pair of gloves likely could never have worn them at all, much less in committing murder. So, the prior experience attribute helps the visual dominance attribute’s dynamic as well. Many people have either experienced such a struggle themselves or witnessed a similar struggle involving a friend or relative. Memories in one’s hippocampus of such an experience would explain the visual image of Simpson’s struggle with these gloves.

Temporal Synchronicity

There is a question about the connection between Simpson and the gloves; the gloves were bloodied and the prosecution has asserted their involvement in the murders. The audience is aware of those assertions before Simpson attempts to put them on. Yet, when he tries to put them on and struggles so much to do so, the initial verbal assertion is contradicted dramatically by the image of the struggle. Through these, the audience perceives/concludes that the gloves and Simpson are not connected (Cognition).


These two cases involving litigation and legal maneuvering illustrate the application of the model to the persuasive messages attorneys present on a regular basis in their work.

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