How Judges Use Weapons of Influence: The Social Psychology of Courts

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Research on compliance has shown that people can be induced to comply with various requests by using techniques that capitalise on the human tendencies to act consistently and to reciprocate. Thus far this line of research has been applied to interactions between individuals, not to relations between institutions. We argue, however, that similar techniques are applied by courts vis-à-vis the government, the legislature and the public at large, when courts try to secure legitimacy and acceptance of their decisions. We discuss a number of known influence techniques – including ‘foot in the door’, ‘low-balling’, ‘giving a reputation to uphold’ and ‘door in the face’ – and provide examples from Israeli case law of the use of such techniques by courts. This analysis offers new insights that can further the understanding of judicial decision-making processes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7-24
Number of pages18
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • door in the face
  • foot in the door
  • influence techniques
  • judicial decision-making
  • strategic decisions


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