Trial Tip: Actuarial-Based Testimony: Strategize for Jurors’ Fast and Slow Thinking

Vol. 14 No. 2

John G. McCabe is a cognitive psychologist and consultant with DecisionQuest in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at

As the old joke goes, “What is an actuary?” “It’s an accountant who can’t stand the excitement.” For litigators who have seen jurors’ eyes glaze over when receiving actuarial-based testimony, the issue becomes: Why does actuarial testimony seem to lack persuasive power, relative to more experience-based testimony?

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