FWLA June 5 Event
“Is there a Persuasive Power in Showing Weakness?”
with guest speaker Kathy Stanchi, Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA,
What kinds of arguments are the most persuasive? In the words of cognitive scientist Richard Perloff, many people think about persuasion in “John Wayne macho terms” in which the best persuaders “are like tough-talking sales people hitting people over the head with arguments.” We all know lawyers who see argumentation in this way. But is this really the best way to convince someone?
While the answer to this question is (of course) complex, the research on human decision-making suggests that arguments that are presented as imperfect or that otherwise show some vulnerability have great persuasive power. Indeed, these kinds of arguments can have more power than arguments that are presented as unquestionable or look incontrovertible. This talk will discuss some of the science underlying the somewhat paradoxical result that revealing weakness can be powerful. This data can inform not only how we behave as lawyers but how we approach persuasion in other contexts, including our personal lives.
Kathy Stanchi has spent that last decade studying how cognitive science can inform law practice. Her main focus is on persuasion and advocacy. This talk will summarize a small branch of that research that focuses on what tone to take in advocacy.
She is a visiting professor at Keio Law School this spring and has agreed to share this evening with us. Please join us on June 5th!