Teaching behavioural insights in dispute resolution

As part of an ongoing research project,  I’ve been looking at the impact of behavioural insights on mediation (and dispute resolution more broadly).   By ‘behavioural insights’, I’m referring to fields such as cognitive neuroscience, behavioural economics, social psychology,  all of which have been recently made accessible to non-experts through popular books such as  Nudge, Thinking, Fast and Slow and Blink.   

This project is directed at a critical analysis of the impact of these fields on core concepts such as self-determination in mediation.   However, that’s a post for another day  (and in fact a forthcoming book chapter), where I explore the challenges of these fields for foundational concepts in mediation, such as self-determination and party autonomy.   

However, in the process of undertaking this research I have come across some very good teaching resources from the University of Texas’ Ethics Unwrapped site.   I plan to use these in my teaching this semester, as they offer some insights into cognitive biases that, as mediators know only too well,  are common to participants in disputes.      Some of the topics that I have found particularly useful include  –  loss aversion,  framing, and fundamental attribution error.

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