Predictable irrationality in mediation: Insights from behavioural economics

Laurence Boulle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article examines the potential relevance of developments in cognitive psychology and neuroscience for mediation and its practitioners. It begins by noting the linkages between mediation and micro-economic market theory and then illustrates the adoption within behavioural economics of key psychological insights, involving cognitive and social biases and heuristics, in human decision-making. Assuming the scientific validity of six potentially relevant biases, it examines how mediators might use this knowledge in the mediation room in assisting their clients, often unaware of their own biases, in making wise decisions. The article then relates the behaviourist principles to other supportive evidence on decision-making, some of which is already accommodated in the mediation literature and mediation training. It concludes by acknowledging the challenges for mediators, and mediation models and standards, in coming to terms with the sometimes indeterminate insights of "predictable irrationality".
Original languageEnglish
Article number1441-7847
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalAustralasian Dispute Resolution Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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