Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Law and Human Behavior 34:2 (2010), pp. 164-174; doi: 10.1007/s10979-009-9178-8


Copyright © 2009 American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


This experiment examined whether different quantifications of the same damage award request ($175,000 lump sum, $10/ hour, $240/day, $7300/month for 2 years) influenced pain and suffering awards compared to no damage award request. Jury-eligible community members (N = 180) read a simulated personal injury case in which defendant liability already had been determined. Awards were: (1) larger for the $10/hour and $175,000 conditions than the $7300/month and control conditions and (2) more variable for the $10/hour condition than the $7300/month and control conditions. No differences emerged on ratings of the parties, their attorneys, or the difficulty of picking a compensation figure. We discuss the theoretical implications of our data for the anchoring and adjustment literature and the practical implications for legal professionals.