The Psychology of Mediation


As sure as thunder follows lightning, the battle cry, “It’s not the money, it’s the principle,” follows a seemingly irrational position taken during the course of mediation. Some believe it is always the money. But there is much evidence to suggest that perceptions of fairness drive decision making. Standing on principle can be seen across all case types, from siblings spending more money fighting over an asset than the asset is worth, to an insurance company willing to pay “x” amount of money to settle a case, but only if the insurance company representing a co-defendant will contribute the same amount of money.

This article explores perceptions of fairness, where they come from, how they affect decision making and how to get past the impasse created by such perceptions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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