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Title: Using and disrupting reptile theory as a trial strategy
Authors: Pollack, Daniel
Reiter, Elisa
Keywords: Reptile Theory
polyvagal theory
ventral vagal
dorsal vagal
Reptilian complex
Paleomammalian complex
Neomammalian complex
negativity bias
the Golden Rule argument
juror neutrality
Issue Date: 10-Oct-2023
Publisher: ALM
Citation: Reiter, E., & Pollack, D. (2023, October 10). Using and disrupting reptile theory as a trial strategy. The Recorder. .
Series/Report no.: The Recorder;October 10, 2023
Abstract: Reptile theory is a trial strategy that focuses on using fear and anger to motivate a jury to dislike a defendant so much that it will award an unwarranted large verdict to the plaintiff. It focuses on safety and security issues by seeking to have jurors envision themselves caught in the same situation that the plaintiff suffered, engaging the most primal part of a juror’s mind. How is this done? The attorney evoking reptile theory attempts to motivate jurors to believe that if a defendant’s actions are allowed to continue, then the community at large – perhaps even including the jury itself – will risk facing danger. Such attorneys are steering the jury’s mind to a fight or flight response. (from Introduction)
Description: Commentary
Appears in Collections:Wurzweiler School of Social Work: Faculty publications

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