U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Psychological Communication in the Court Room

NCJ Number
Australian Law News Dated: (December 1983, January/February 1984, March 1984) Pages: 26-30,34-37,16-17
G Andrewartha
Date Published
11 pages
This 3-part article describes 12 psychological communication techniques, based in the work of Milton Erickson (1975), attorneys can use in communicating effectively in the courtroom.
One technique, 'matching and leading,' involves the replication of an opponent's communication followed by a logical conclusion that undermines the opponent's argument. A second technique is the use of perceptual systems, which involves the use of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic representation. 'Linking' consists of using a lower voice tone to link two different elements, and 'seeding ideas' introduces fresh themes upon which to build fact and suggestion. Another communication technique is to present a series of obvious questions to a witness, followed by a suggestion that entices the witness to continue the agreement. Other communication techniques are to match the client's view of the world, provide indirect suggestions, present 'double binds' that direct reasoning, and handle witness resistance or antagonism. Other techniques are to put distance between a situation and its actors, make a clear statement after a series of complex facts have been presented, and use anecdote and metaphor. Overall, the techniques are designed to preoccupy the conscious mind with facts and considerations while the unconscious mind is being influenced with persistent, indirect pleadings. Examples of each technique are provided. 14 references.


No download available