You are on page 1of 36

TheNeurophysiologyofADRandProcessDesign:

ANewApproachtoConflictPreventionandResolution?

ByJeremyLackandFranoisBogacz

I.

"Wedonotseethingsastheyare.Weseethingsasweare."AnaisNin
WehavetostartbydefiningtheprocessaspartoftheproblemDavidPlant

INTRODUCTION

Neurobiologyseemstobepoppingupeverywhere.Itisbeingtaughtinleadershipconferences,
salesandmarketingseminars,managementmeetings,businessschools,andincreasinglyinlawschools
and bar associations. The cover of the American Bar Associations Summer 2011 Dispute Resolution
MagazinewasdedicatedtothetopicofNeuroscienceandNegotiation.1Init,ProfessorRichardBirke
observesthatNeuroscienceiseverywhere.Isitanewfadorafundamentalawakening,providingnew
insights for the legal profession? As the science for measuring brain activity advances, and new
breakthroughsaremadeinelectroencephalography(EEG),magnetoencephalography(MEG),Functional
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), positron emission
tomography (PET), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), there is a confusing
arsenal of new and convoluted, hightechsounding imaging technologies, by which scientists are
seekingtopenetratethevariouslayers,regionsandneuralassembliesofthehumanbrain,todecipher
ourbehaviorandtheessenceofourverybeingasahighlyevolvedanduniquespeciesofanimal.2This
runsthedangerofbecomingthe21stCenturysnewphrenology,asthescienceisstillrifewitherrors.3
Ontheotherhand,theresearchraisesintriguingnewinsightsintothebrain,consciousdecisionmaking
processes, the role of emotions, and the ways in which our neurobiological hard wiring might be
impactingourbehaviorindisputeresolutionprocesses.
ThebulkofthesefindingstodatesupportsAnaisNinsquotationgivenabove,wherebywedo
not perceive things as they really are (i.e., objectively) but as we are (i.e., subjectively). This raises
important new implications for lawyers, judges, arbitrators, inhouse counsel, mediators, conciliators,
andavarietyofotherADRprofessionals.Ithasanimpactonhowweshouldstarttointerpretevidence,
weighwitnesstestimonyand(re)considerfindingsoffacts.Prof.Birkearguesthatlawyersoughtto

R. Birke, Neuroscience and Negotiation: What the New Science of Mind May Offer the Practicing Attorney,
DisputeResolutionMagazine,Volume17,No.4,Summer2011.
2
Foragoodprimeronneuroimaging,seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroimaging.
3
See, for example, C. Bennett et al (2009), Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post
mortem
Atlantic
Salmon:
An
argument
for
multiple
comparisons
correction,
http://prefrontal.org/files/posters/BennettSalmon2009.pdf, which shows how the data generated in an fMRI
experiment could either suggest that a dead salmon was still engaging in conscious perspectivetaking tasks, or
thatthetechnologyitselfcanyieldspuriousresultsthatneedtobecorrectedwhendoingdataanalysis.

Page1of36


careaccordinglyaboutneuroscience,andgivesseveralexamplesofwhythisisthecase.4Thepurpose
of this paper is not, however, to delve into the implications of neurobiology from the perspective of
advocacyorjudicialappreciation.NorisittosupportProf.Birkespremise(whichisselfevident)that
understanding human perception is likely to be of great importance to trial attorneys and judges.
Rather, the purpose of this paper is to focus on currentprocesses by whichparties, counsel and ADR
neutralstrytoresolvedisputes,initialinnatehumanreactionsthatmayoccurwhenconflictsbeginto
arise,andtoassesshoweffectiveourprocessesfordisputeresolutionmaybeintermsofwhatcurrent
discoveries in neurobiology would seem to suggest. It will seek to examine not only how subjective
perceptions may shape outcomes but how the choice of the process itself can have unintended
consequencesintermsoftriggeringcertainbehavioralpathwaysratherthanothers,andpossiblycause
theconflicttoescalate.
Itispossiblethatlargepartsofthispapermayprovetobeerroneousinthefuture,orreflect
culturalbiases.Thisexplainstheuseofaquestionmarkinthetitleofthispaper.Itscontents,however,
summarize new findings that already provide new food for thought, and raise new concerns about
dispute resolution processes and the traditional ways in which lawyers and parties seek to resolve
conflicts, as well as the innate tendency of conflicts to escalate. They raise new concerns regarding
ethicalbehaviorindisputeresolutionandanewappreciationofhowparties,lawyersandneutralsmay
be manipulated orbecome unconsciously manipulative. Thepoint is to generate some selfreflection
and to start the debate somewhere, as to whether, and if so how, an understanding of neurobiology
should become part of legal education and cause us to query our traditional views of justice and our
choiceofdisputeresolutionprocesses.Theauthorwelcomesanyandallcriticismstothesuggestionsor
ideascontainedinthisarticle.
II.

THETENNEUROCOMMANDMENTS:EMOTION,SOCIALIZATIONANDCOGNITION

Much ink has been spilled in describing the evolution of the human brain, and how it has
evolved from the level of our reptilian ancestors. According to many theories (and especially the
physicianandneuroscientistPaulMacLean),thehumanbrainhasevolvedintermsofthreeindependent
butinterconnectedlayersofbrainmatter,referredtoasthetriunebrain.5Theresultisthatjustasan
archaeologist can visit an ancient site, and determine the historical evolution of that site, the human
brainshowsthreelayersofdistinctevolutionasshowninFigure1below.Theselayersreflectdifferent
momentsinthehistoryoftheevolutionofthehumanspecies,andhowourdecisionmakingprocesses
haveevolved.Thewaysinwhichtheselayersmayoperateandinterrelatecanprovidefascinatingnew
insightsintohowhumansreactanddealwithsituationsofconflict.

Forintriguingrecentarticlesonneurobiologyandmediation,seealso:(i)KenClokesarticle(alsonowatwopart
podcast) entitled: Bringing Oxytocin Into The Room: Notes On The Neurophysiology Of Conflict at
http://www.mediate.com/articles/cloke8.cfm;RichardBirkesCPRawardwinningNeuroscienceandSettlement:
AnExaminationofScientificInnovationsandPracticalApplications,publishedin25OhioStateJournalonDispute
Resolution at pp. 477529 (2010), and available online at http://www.pgpmediation.com/blog/wp
content/uploads/2011/05/neuroscience_and_settlement_.doc; and (iii) Michelle LeBaron & Mario Patera
Reflective Practice in the New Millennium available online at http://law.hamline.edu/files/4LeBaronPatera
Reflective_Practice_FINAL_May_09.pdf.
5
ForageneraldescriptionoftheTriuneBrain,seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triune_brain.

Page2of36

Figure1:TheThreeLevelsofEvolutionoftheHumanBrain

TheReptilianBrain:Thisisthemostprimitivelevelofthehumanbrainandsitsatthebottomof
thebrain,inthebrainstemregion.Itisbelievedtohaveevolvedover500millionyearsagoand
greatly resembles the brain of reptiles, from which it bears its name. The Reptilian Brain
containsautomaticandbasicinstincts(suchasbreathingandheartbeat)istheareainwhichwe
have our instinctive and evolutionarily conserved survival reflexes. These include the flight,
flightorfreezeinstinctsthatwesharewithreptiles.Thesereflexesarebelievedtoinstinctively
takeoveranddominatewhenfundamentalissuesofsurvivalareatstake.
The Limbic System: The second layer of the brain that can be discerned evolutionarily is the
Limbic System, which evolved when mammals first appeared (and is therefore sometimes
referredtoasthepaleomammaliancomplexorasthemammalianbrain).Mammalsarethe
firstcreaturestosuckletheiryoungandtohavestrongemotionalinstincts.Itisbelievedtobe
thepartofthebrainthroughwhichallofoursenses(sound,taste,smell,sightandtouch)are
firstprocessed,andtheareainwhichwegenerateemotions,ourfirstandmostbasiccerebral
reactionstoanystimulus.Thisareawouldhaveevolved,accordingtoevolutionarytheory,asa
rapidrelevanceanddetectionsystem,helpinganimalstorapidlyworkout(withinmilliseconds
andbeforetimeforcognitiveappreciation)whethersomethingwastobefeared(inwhichcase
itwastobeinstinctivelyavoided),orareward(inwhichcaseitcouldbeapproached).Thispart
ofthebrainincludesthethalamus,asortofsignalandprimarysensoryfilterstationinthebrain,
aswellastwosmallalmondshapedregionscalledtheamygdala,whicharebelievedtobethe
areasassociatedwithearlystage,autobiographical,traumaticandunconsciousmemories,and
wherefeelingsoffear,safetyandpleasurearefirstgeneratedandregistered,alongwithother
primaryemotionssuchasangerandsadness.Theamygdalaactasarapidrelevancedetector,

Page3of36

helpingthehumanbodytorapidlysortoutandprioritizetheterabytesuponterabytesofdata
thatthehumanbraincaptureseveryfractionofasecond.6
The Neocortex: This is the outer and most recent layer of the human brain in evolutionary
terms,whichisparticularlydevelopedinprimatesandotheradvancedmammals,andallowsus
todohighorderthinkingandcognitiveappreciation.Itallowscomplexcoordinationofmotor
andsensoryfunctions,andiswhatallowsspeechcomprehension,andconsciousmemory.The
frontalpartofthisouterlayer,calledthefrontallobeorfrontalcortex,isparticularlydeveloped
inhumans,accountingforapproximately1/3rdinsizeoftheentirehumanbrain.Itisthearea
that deals with conscious, highorder integrated brain functions, such as abstract thought,
conceptualization,planningandtheconsciousappreciationofemotions.Thisthirdlevelofthe
brainseemstobecloselyregulatedbytheamygdala(andalsocanactasafeedbacklooptothe
amygdala, to regulate emotional responses), which are connected to all but 8 regions of the
cortex.7

Whether or not this theory of the evolution of the human brain is sufficiently precise or
accurate,itprovidesausefulmetaphorforconsideringhumanbeingsinsituationsofconflict.Assuming
that the human brain has finite and limited resources in glucose and oxygen at any given moment in
time,andthatthehumanbeinghasevolvedtomaximizetheefficiencybywhichoxygenandglucoseare
conservedorconsumedinthebrain(whichcanbevisualizedbyfMRIinthecaseofoxygen),itwould
appear that all senses are first scanned through an unconscious emotional appraisal system (in the
LimbicSystem),anddependingonitsfirstanalysis(e.g.,whetherthereisasenseoffeargeneratingan
avoidancereflexorasenseofrewardgeneratinganapproachreflex)eithertheReptilianSystemwill
beactivated(e.g.,fight,flightorfreezereflexes),ortheneocortex(andparticularlythefrontalcortex)
willbeenabledtoprovideacognitiveappreciationofthestimulusandindulgeinrationalreflectionasto
howbesttoadapttothedatatheemotionalsystemhashighlightedforattention.TheLimbicSystem
(andtheamygdalainparticular)canthusbeviewedasasortofrapidrelevancedetectorandaswitch,
thatactivatesorsuppressescorticalthinkingorreptiliannonthinking.Dependingoninitialreflexes
of fear or reward, oxygen and glucose may be distributed and consumed differently within the brain,
whichsuggeststhatallperception,nomatterhowobjectiveorrationalitmayseemtobe,isinfactfirst
perceived and filtered through emotions. This model thus emphasizes the primordial importance of
emotions as the basis for all perception and subsequent cognitive thinking, which can only occur
downstreamof,andafterunconscious,emotionalappraisalofstimulianddatahasfirstoccurred.This
modelwouldexplainthedifficultyhumanbeingshaveinbeinglogicalandhighlyemotional(e.g.,angry)
atthe sametime.It suggeststhatonce theneuralpathwaysthatlead to angerhave been activated,
glucoseandoxygenareprovidedprimarilytothoseareasofthebrainthatregulatethisemotion,and
that the frontal cortex is deprived of such essential nutrients until the body has had time to self
regulate. This would also explain why an angry person tends to become more angry when asked to
thinklogically,orwhyitisdifficultforapersonwhoisdoingahighlycognitiveandabsorbingtask(e.g.,

Foradetaildiscussionoftheintriguingroleoftheamygdalaandtheirpossibleimportanceinconflictsituations,
see D. Sander et al, The Human Amygdala: an Evolved System for Relevance Detection, Reviews in the
Neurosciences,14,pp.303316(2003).
7
SeeL.Pessoa,Ontherelationshipbetweenemotionandcognition,NatureReviewsNeuroscience,9,pp.148
158(February2008)

Page4of36


addingcomplexnumbers,orsolvingmathematicalpuzzles)toexperiencestrongemotionsatthesame
time.Thethreelayersofthetriunebraincanthusbethoughtofasthreehighlyinterconnected,butat
the same time independent neural networks, which can have different levels of activity and different
levels of arousal. Our emotions would thus reflect how our most fundamental needs may drive our
behavior at an animalistic and instinctive level, before cognitive appraisal can occur, and how our
subsequentreactionsandbehavioraffectourabilitiestoconsciouslyselfregulateandchangeourway
ofthinkingandprocessinginformationatanygivenmomentintime.8
Borrowingfromcreationisttheory,extrapolatingbeyondwhatisactuallyknownwithscientific
certainty, and setting aside many responsible debates on possible interplays between cognition and
emotionthatexisttoday,itispossibletovulgarizerecentdiscoveriesinneurosciencebysuggestingthat
humansmaybehardwiredevolutionarilyormayhavebeencreatedtorespondtothefollowingten
neurocommandments:
1.

2.

Thou shalt consume your brains resources efficiently and create patterns: The human
brain is just 2% of the average persons body weight. Yet it demands 20% of the bodys
blood flow and 20% of its oxygen at all times.9 The human prefrontal cortex is also
unusuallylarge,accountingforapproximately1/3oftotalbrainsize(whichiswhatmakes
thehumanbrainunique).Theprefrontalcortexisalargeconsumerofglucoseandoxygen,
andconsciouscognitivecapabilitiesareseverelydepletedwhenthebrainislowonglucose
or oxygen, or has had suboptimal time to rest (including sleep). The activity of many
regions of the brain follows an inverted Ucurve, where capabilities peak at a certain
momentandthendecreaseintheabsenceofaperiodofrestoringestionoffood.Thiscan
leadtodecisionfatigueoregodepletion.10Inordertoconserveenergy,thehumanbrain
constantlyandinstinctivelyreallocatesinternallythat20%ofthebodysenergyitconsumes.
It does do by creating patterns and neural networks. If the brain had to maintain a
consciousappraisalofallofthesounds,smells,sightsandothersensethebodyisexposed
to,itsresourceswouldsoonbedepleted.Wehavethusevolvedwithneuralpatternsand
networks that do not require conscious awareness, but that allow us to be aware of and
screen our environment unconsciously, thus conserving the brains oxygen and glucose
resources.
Thy shalt predict according to thy patterns: As humans grow, since childhood, they
developnew patterns andscriptsof behaviortoadapteasilyandmoreefficientlytotheir
environments. These new scripts are developed at different phases in life, especially in
family and early social interactions (e.g., playground, school, etc), in professional training

For further discussions on the role of emotions in the brain, see e.g.: (i) P. Vuilleumier How brains beware:
neural mechanisms of emotional attention, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol.9, No. 12, pp. 58594 (December
2005);(ii)R.J.Davidsonetal,Theprivilegedstatusofemotioninthebrain,PNAS,August17,2004vol.101no.33
1191511916;andH.Herwigetal,Selfrelatedawarenessandemotionregulation,NeuroImage50,pp.734741
(2010).
9
BrainBulletin#546ThingsYouDidn'tKnowAboutYourBrain,TerrySmall(www.terrysmall.com/bb_54.asp)
10
Foranexcellentreviewofthesephenomena,whichgobeyondthescopeofthispaper,seeJ.TierneyDoYou
Suffer from Decision Fatigue?, The New York Times (August 17, 2011), available online at
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/doyousufferfromdecisionfatigue.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Page5of36

3.

4.

contexts (e.g., law school), and in organizational contexts. Each group or social setting in
whichapersonworks(e.g.,movingtoanewlawfirm)cancreateanewcorporateculture
andpatternsofbehaviortowhichthepersonhastoadapt.11Asweacquireanddevelop
thesepatternswetrytouseandrecyclethemtoanticipateeventsandbepreparedfornew
situations.Memory,itnowappears,hasnotevolvedtorecordthingsastheyactuallywere,
buttobeabletopredictthingsbetterinthefuture,shouldcertainsimilaritiesinobserved
events occur, and to provide a script should such similarities arise.12 It will also tend to
rationalize decisions once they have been taken, to fit them into a consistent preexisting
patternofbehavior,especiallyafterhavingmadedifficultchoicesorhavingexperienceda
cognitive dissonance, where two contradictory choices of behavior seem to be possible.
Postchoicerationalizationoccursinthesecases,whenoneschoices(usuallyonesactions)
conflict with ones prior attitudes about choice options, and do not comply with cogent
predictable behavior. This dissonant state is unpleasant and can motivate a change in
attitudesaboutwhatwaschosenand/ornotchosen(ordoneornotdone),whichservesto
bothjustifythechoiceexpostfactoandreducefurtherfuturedissonancesfromoccurring,
possiblyaffectingmemoryintheprocess.13
Thou shalt avoid and be far more sensitive to danger/fear than to reward/pleasure,
whichthoushaltseek:Thehumanbraininstinctivelydevelopstwofundamentalpatterns
ofresponse:anaway reflex,whichisassociatedtopainor fear,andatowards reflex,
whichisassociatedwithpleasureorreward.Theseinstinctivereflexesareapparenteven
inallsocialinteractions,especiallyincommercialdisputes,wheremoneymaybeperceived
asarewardthatisinstinctivelyassociatedwithfeelingsofpleasureorsafety,orasapain,
wherehavingtopaydamagescantriggerfearandaggression.Theawayreflex,however,
appearstobefarstrongerandlongerlastingthanthetowardsreflex.14Stimuliofpainor
a threat are typically much faster acting, last longer and are likely to increase adversarial
behavior and reduce cognitive capacity, as more resources are conserved for flight or
flightbehavior,shouldthepersonneedtodefendthemself.Stimuliofpleasureorreward,
however,tendtobesloweracting,milder,andareshorterinduration.Theyarelikelyto
stimulatecooperativeandcreativethinking,asthepersontriestoworkouthowtheycan
gettheawardtheyarenowawareof.Asinglenegativestimulus,however,mayoutweigh
manypositivestimuliandaffecthumanbehaviorforfarlonger.
Thoushaltfirstperceiveviaemotionsbeforebeingabletoselfregulate(unconsciously)
before being able to selfregulate (consciously or by habits): The human brain will
instinctively assess stimuli through emotions first, within the first few milliseconds of

11

ThiscombinationofearlyscriptsandpatternsisreferredtobyM.PateraandU.Gammasthementalmodel
bywhicheachpersondevelopstheirpersonality.
12
L.Biel,TheCertaintyofMemoryHasItsDayinCourt,TheNewYorkTimes(November28,2011),availableat
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/health/thecertaintyofmemoryhasitsdayin
court.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.
13
L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Row, Peterson. (1957). A typical example is smoking, where
peopleacceptthatsmokingcanbelethal,butwillrationalizetothemselvestheirdecisiontocontinuesmoking.
14
SeeS.LeknesS&I.Tracey,Acommonneurobiologyforpainandpleasure,NatureReviewNeuroscience,9,pp.
314320(2008);andM.Kringelbach&K.Berridge,TheNeuroscienceofHappinessandPleasure,SocialResearch
Vol77:No2,pp.65978(Summer2010).

Page6of36


exposuretoastimulus(especiallyonecreatingfeelingsoffear),beforethebrainisableto
have a cognitive appreciation of this emotion or stimulus. This is part of the evolved
efficiencyofthebraintoconserveresources.Aswetrytoconserveresourcesbyrelyingon
patterns and mental scripts, so that we do not require cognitive awareness of all stimuli
providedtous,ourlimbicsystem(andtheamygdalainparticular)actasanearlyandrapid
relevancedetectortoprioritizesensoryinputanddeterminewhatweshouldpayattention
andgiveprioritytointermsofourlimitedresources.15Itisonlyafterconsciousawareness
ofastimulus(afterapproximatelyhalfasecondfromoriginalexposuretothestimulus)that
a person is conscious of a stimulus, and can begin to selfregulate and try to overcome
scriptedpatternsofbehaviour.Stronglyrootedemotionscanthusbedampenedbyhaving
aconsciousappraisaloftheemotion,throughhabitandorconsciousmodificationthrough
deliberatebehavior.Thisabilitycanbedevelopedatanytimeandtouchesontheplasticity
of the brain.16 It appears to be strongly regulated by interconnections between the
amygdalaandthefrontalcortex.17Interestingly,thebrainalsoseemstohaveanautomatic
and almost emotional desire to avoid stress and assess difficult decisions after they have
beentaken, to avoidcognitive dissonanceswhendifficultdecisionshavebeentaken, thus
facilitatinganexpost factojustification ofpriorbehavior.18 Thiscan also leadtodecision
fatigueandegodepletion.19
5.
Thy Social stimuli shall be as powerful as thy Physical ones: Human beings are
gregarious animals that evolved to live in small groups or cliques. Like other mammals,
thereisanautomaticandinstinctiveneedtoassessonessocialstatusinagroup.Negative
social stimuli, such as social exclusion, bereavement, being treated unfairly or being
negatively comparedin a social context,can activatetriggerfeelings ofpain,that activate
networks similar to those that are activated in cases of actual physical pain. Likewise,
positive socialstimuli, such as having agoodreputation, being treated fairly, cooperating,
giving to charity, and even schadenfreude20, can active physical pleasure networks and
stimulatecooperativebehaviorandreciprocity.Wetendtounderestimatethisinadultlife,
butitisoftenaprimarydriverofsocialbehavior,whichcanoperateatanunconsciousbut
instinctivelevel.21Thissenseofbelongingtoagroupcaninfluencenotonlyourfamilyand
senseofculture,butmaybelinkedtoasocioeconomicenvironmentandcaninfluenceour
senses of perception and willingness to buy certain brands as opposed to others. This

15

SeeD.Sanderetalsupraatfootnote6.
See M. Beauregard et al, Neural Correlates of Conscious SelfRegulation of Emotion, The Journal of
Neuroscience,Vol.21RC165,pp.16(2001);andM.Beauregard(ed.),Consciousness,EmotionalSelfRegulation
andtheBrain(AdvancesinConsciousnessResearch),JohnBenjaminsPubCo(January2004)
17
S. Banks et al, Amygdalafrontal connectivity during emotion regulation, Social Cognitive and Affective
Neuroscience,2,pp.303312(2007)
18
See J.M. Jarcho et al, The neural basis of rationalization: cognitive dissonance reduction during decision
making,SocialCognitiveandAffectiveNeuroscience,5,pp.18(2010).
19
SeeJ.Tierneysupraatfootnote11.
20
Definedaspleasurederivedfromthemisfortunesofothers.Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude.
21
SeeLiebermanandEisenberger,PainsandPleasuresofSocialLife,Science,323,pp.89091,(Feb,13,2009);
H. Takahashi et al. When Your Gain Is My Pain and Your Pain Is My Gain: Neural Correlates of Envy and
Schadenfreude,Science,323,pp.93739(Fev2009);N.Eisenbergeretal.,Doesrejectionhurt?AnfMRIstudyof
socialexclusion,Science,302,29092(2003).
16

Page7of36

6.

7.

circuitry also appears to be regulated by interrelations between the amygdala and the
frontalcortex.
Thoushaltseeksafeorcomfortablestatuspositionsatalltimes:Thisisacombinationof
the5thruleaboveandtheoverwhelmingreflextoavoidpain,whichisamoredominantand
longlastingfeeling(rules1and2above).Accordingtoarecentstudy,theresultisthatin
situations wherepeopleare positivelyprimedsocially (e.g., as clever), theymay behave
more cautiously to conserve their positive status, whereas they may act more rapidly or
incautiously,wheretheyhavenotbeenpositivelyprimed,orhavebeenprimednegatively
(e.g.,asstupid).22Italsomayexplainthecomplexandmultifacetednatureofwhathas
beentermedhumanecosysteminteractionsandtheacceptanceofallocationsofcommon
pool resources by and within communities, and how people seek to avoid shaming or
shunning within their communities.23 A sense of status will also affect the ability to
empathizewithothers.Empathyandaltruisticbehaviorappeartodifferbetweenhumans,
depending on whether they believe themselves to belong to groups of high or low socio
economicstatus.24
Thou shalt relate and empathize ingroup (but not outofgroup): Humans have a
fundamentalneedtotrustandbeabletorelyonotheranimalswithintheirsocialorfamily
groups. This need appears to be neurobiologically driven in two ways: (i) by a
neuropeptidethatisfoundinthebraincalledoxytocin;and(ii)bythepresenceofneurons
in the brain, called mirror neurons, which induce the same activation of neurons in an
observer as are actually flaring in a person being observed who is doing an action (e.g.,
playingasport)orexpressingafacialemotion(e.g.,grimacing).Theneuropeptideoxytocin
has been studied in detail and plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in
mammals. It increases the willingness to accept social risks in interpersonal interactions
withinthesamesocialcommunity.25Thisincreaseintrustduetooxytocinonlyappearsto
occurintragroup,however,andnotasbetweengroups,whereothersmaybeperceivedas
beingdifferent.Infact,increasedoxytocincanleadtomoredefensiveandaggressiveforms
behaviortowardspersonsperceivedascompetingorbeingoutsideofasocialgroup.26This
automatic tendency to empathize and relate to other humans (at least intragroup, if not
outofgroup) may also be supported by the activity of mirror neurons in the brain, that
allow nonverbal communication between people and a natural sense of empathy to

22

See S. Bengtssonetal.,Priming forselfesteem influences the monitoring of ones own performance, Social
CognitiveandAffectiveNeuroscience,6,pp.41725(2011)
23
For a general discussion on shunning, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunning. These neuro
commandmentsmayalsobeusefulininterpretingtheworkofElinorOstrom(2009NobelLaureateinEconomics)
ontendenciesofgroupstoshame,shunorrefusetodobusinesswithothers,orthetragedyofcommonsand
collectiveactionproblems.Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commonsandM.OlsonsTheLogic
ofCollectiveAction:PublicGoodsandtheTheoryofGroups,HarvarduniversityPress(1965,rev.1971).
24
Y. Ma et al, Neural responses to perceived pain in others predict reallife monetary donations in different
socioeconomiccontexts,NeuroImage,Volume57,Issue3,pp.127380(August2011)
25
M. Kosfeld et al., Oxytocin increases trust in humans, Nature, 435, pp. 673676 (June 2005); P.J. Zak et al.,
OxytocinIncreasesGenerosityinHumans,PLoSONE,2(11):e1128.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001128(2007)
26
C.K.W. De Dreu et al, The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among
Humans,Science,Vol.328,no.5984pp.14081411(June2010);

Page8of36

8.

occur.27 According to recent research in which mirror neurons were directly measured in
humans for the first time, the existence of mirror neurons provide a complex and rich
mirroring of the actions of other people. Because mirror neurons fire both when an
individualperformsanactionandwhenonewatchesanotherindividualperformthatsame
action, it is believed that this "mirroring" is the neural mechanism by which the actions,
intentionsandemotionsofotherpeoplecanbeautomaticallyunderstoodbytheobserver,
inparticularviafacialexpressionsofemotion.28Thesemechanismsarebelievedtocreate
an automatic and instinctive ability for humans to detect emotions and be able to
empathize with oneanother. It appears, however, that mirror neurons flare less when
similarbehaviorisobservedingroupsthatarenotareperceivedasbeingdifferent,andthat
oxytocincanincreaseaggressioninsteadoftrustwhenanotherpersonisnotperceivedas
belongingtothesamegrouporanimalclique.29Itwouldthusseemthatourabilitiesto
empathize are not as effective when a person is not considered to belong to a different
grouporclique.
Thoushaltreactnegativelytounfairbehavior:Functionalneuroimaginginvestigationsin
the fields of social neuroscience and neuroeconomics indicate how decisions affecting a
sense of status, social belonging, or about money may activate pain/reward reflexes, and
thatapartofthebraincalledtheanteriorinsularcortex(theAI)isconsistentlyinvolvedin
empathy, compassion, and interpersonal phenomena, such as fairness and cooperation.
These findings suggest that the AI plays an important role in social emotions, defined as
affectivestatesthatarisewhenweinteractwithotherpeopleandthatdependonthemina
socialcontext.Incertainstudies(e.g.,theUltimatumgame,whereoneplayerhastosplit
money in a way that is accepted by another player in order for the money to be kept by
both),areceivingpartywillrefuseabenefitevenifitistohis/hernetadvantage,iftheyfeel
theotherpersonmakingthesplitisbehavingunreasonablyorselfishly(e.g.,byproposinga
99:1% split, even though the 1% increment would still benefit the receiving party as
opposed to receiving nothing). Behavioral experiments show that where proposals are
deemed as being fair (a 50:50 split being perceived as most fair) they have far higher
chancesofbeingaccepted,whereasunfairproposalsaremorelikelytoberejected.When
participantsplaysuchgamesinanfMRIscanner,acomplexinteractionbetweentheAIand
anareaofthefrontalcortexappeartobeactivatedveryrapidly,inmilliseconds,preceding
thetimepossibleforacognitivedecision.InamoreextremefMRIexperiment,participants
observed fair or unfair players receiving painful electrical shocks. This study showed an
interestingdifferenceinbehaviorbetweenmenandwomen.Mensempathyrelatedneural
responsesweresignificantlyreducedwhentheyobservedunfairplayers,whichwasnotthe
caseinwomen.Whilemutualcooperationusuallyresultsinfeelingsoftrustandfriendship,
a lack of cooperation results in anger and indignation, and thus an acceptance or a
willingnesstopunish(moresoinmenthaninwomen).TheAIseemstoplayacentralrole

27

See an interview of M Iacoboni in The Mirror Neuron Revolution: Explaining What Makes Humans Social,
ScientificAmerican,17,pp.1718(July2008).
28
R.Mukameletal.,SingleNeuronResponsesinHumansduringExecutionandObservationofActions,Current
Biology20,pp.750756,(April2010)
29
CITATIONS?ASKFRANCOIS.

Page9of36

9.

10.

in social empathetic emotions ranging from pain, and pleasant emotions to fairness,
admiration and compassion. The AI seems to have evolved as a primary means of
generating and predicting self and otherrelated feelings, where a sense of unfairness is
experiencedasaformofpain.30
Thoushaltbemotivatedbyautonomyorbyfeelingautonomous:Humansdonotcope
wellwhentheybelievetheyareforcedorobligedtobehaveacertainway.Arecentreview
ofscientificliteratureconfirmsthathumansrequiretheperceptionthattheyareincontrol
oftheirenvironmentandhavefreechoiceinordertofeelwell.Thisneedforaperception
ofcontrolisprofound.Itisaneedthatisnotonlypsychologicalbutprofoundlybiological.
The bodys neural systems seem to have hardwired the need for control as a biological
imperativeforsurvival,althoughthiscanbetemperedincertaincollectivistgroups.Forthis
reason, most humans (as is the case for the majority of mammals) will languish when
deprivedofautonomy.31
Thoushaltoperatecognitivelyin2gears(X&Cmodes):Thisisatheoryproposedby
Matthew D. Lieberman, according to which human beings have two basic modes of
consciousfunctioning.Thefirstiscalledthereflexivemode,whichismediatedbyneural
assembliesinthebrain(referredtoastheXsystem).Thissystemreliesprimarilyonour
patternstopredictunconsciouslyandonourcognitivereflexes.Thisisthestatewetend
tofunctioninmostofthetime,andcanbeexaggeratedlydescribedasasortofzombieor
autopilot state, which occurs when we are in a low state of conscious arousal. The
secondmodeiscalledthereflectivemodeandismediatedbyadifferentneuralassembly
system(theCsystem).Thislevelofcognitivebehaviourisseldomactivatedandinvolves
high level concentration. Humans tend to cruise like a car in first gear, using their X
systemmode,whereglucoseandoxygenareconsumedveryfrugally(e.g.,whenadriverof
acarisconsciousbutcannotremembermuchofwhatwasconsciouslydone,onaroutine
basis,duringthejourney).Furthermore,althoughmanyofusbelievewearegoodatmulti
tasking, it appears that our cognitive appreciation and responses are impaired when we
seektodoso.Weseldommoveintooursecondandoptimal gearofcognitivethought
using our Csystem. When the Csystem is activated, it is far more focused and
demanding in terms of oxygen and glucose consumption. The brain becomes deeply
absorbed in very complex activities requiring intense concentration (e.g., mathematical
calculations), and cannot sustain this mode of cognitive behavior without frequentbreaks
and nutrition.32 According to this theory, we tend to go about our daily affairs (and
remember things) paying little attention to internallyfocused processes and only have
strong senses of cognition when sufficiently aroused to do so on externallyfocused tasks
requiringfullconcentration.

30

C.Lamm&T.Singer,Theroleofanteriorinsularcortexinsocialemotions,BrainStructFunct,214,pp.579
591(2010)
31
L.Leottietal,BorntoChoose:TheOriginsandValueoftheNeedforControl,TrendsinCognitiveSciences,Vol.
14,No.10,pp.45763(October2010).
32
M.D.Lieberman,SocialCognitiveNeuroscience:AReviewofCoreProcesses,AnnualReviewofPsychology,58,
pp.25989(2007).

Page10of36


Whatdothesetenneurocommandmentssuggestformentaldecisionmakingprocessesorin
situations of conflict? The author submits that much of observed behavior may not be optimally
assessedatthecognitivelevel,andthatweseldomactivateourCsystemswhenresolvingconflicts.
Ourtendenciestoinstinctivelyandrapidlyfilterinformationviaemotionalnetworksbeforethefrontal
cortexcanexertfullycognitiveassessmentsofthesituation,ourneedtopredictandavoidsituationsof
uncomfortablestatusorpain,andoursocialneedspreventusfrombehavingobjectively.Wealsocan
influence outcome by priming disputants abilities to empathize with oneanother and engage in
cooperativebehavioriftheyareabletocreateasenseofbelongingtoacommongroup,suchasseeking
a mutually acceptable outcome. Our desire to avoid uncomfortable cognitive dissonances and post
choice rationalization means that the use of a single word as opposed to another can trigger entirely
differentneuralpathwaysandformsofbehaviorbeforewehavehadthetimetoconsciouslyrealizethis
andmakeafullyinformeddecision.
An excellent example of how our scripts are activated unconsciously, leading to different
cognitive behaviors and outcomes, can be found in a recent experiment conducted in the United
KingdombyDeMartinoetal.(2006),wheretwogroupsweregivenidenticalchoicesframeddifferently
bytheuseofonlytwowords:keepandlose.33Bothgroupsweregivenafiftypoundnoteandwere
given the option of gambling to keep the full amount of 50. The only difference between the two
groupswasthatonegroupwastolditcouldkeep20orgamblewhereastheothergroupwastoldit
couldlose30orgamble.Theriskoflosingtheentire50bygamblingwasthesameinbothcases,
andcarriedahighprobabilityofloss(2/3).Fromamathematicalperspective,keeping20isidentical
tolosing30.Arationalassessmentbybothgroupsshouldthereforehaveledtoidenticalbehavior,
whichiswhatonewouldexpectifhighorderCsystemthinkingwereengaged.Asitis,thetwogroups
behaved very differently, and observations of their brains under fMRI showed that the decision was
modulated and shaped very rapidly by two different neural networks, depending on the use of the
wordskeepasopposedtolose.Thewordkeepisasafeword.Inthegroupofferedthekeep
20option,thedecisionappearstohavebeenmodulatedbyazoneinthefrontalcortex,astherewere
no adverse emotions activated. The majority of the people in this group, who appeared to be
processingthisdecisionintheirfrontalcortexaccordingtofMRIpictures,chosenottogamble,thinking
itbettertokeep20thanrisklosing50.Ontheotherhand,thewordloseisnotasafeword.Itcan
trigger a fear reflex, depending on individual subjective conditioning to prior pressure responses, and
socioeconomicinfluences.Inthegroupofferedthelose30option,thedecisionappearsindeedto
have been modulated by fear networks in the limbic system more precisely in the amygdala as
shown byfMRI imaging(SeeFigure2below). Themajorityofthisgroupchoseto gamble, thinkingit
bettertoriskeverythingratherthanlose30.

33

B.DeMartinoetal.,Frames,Biases,andRationalDecisionMakingintheHumanBrain,Science313,pp.684
87(2006).

Page11of36

Figure2:TheFramingEffectofKeepv.Lose
Whatis interesting aboutthisexperiment isthat itshows theextenttowhich humanchoices
and behavior can be influenced by a single word. By framing or reframing directions as procedural
choices instead of as orders, or by using neutral, positive or negative words, it may be possible to
change the very neural pathways and mental processes by which decisions are made, leading to
differentoutcomes.Thisiswellknownbyexperiencedmediators,whohavediscoveredthatanoffer
thatwasrefusedinthepastfromanotherpartymaysuddenlybecomeattractivesolelyasaresultofthe
wayinwhichtheofferwasreformulated,orduetothefactthattheofferwasperceivedascomingfrom
themediator.Theabsenceoffearinthesecasesmaymeanthatdifferentassembliesinthebrainare
activated.34 It is with this experiment in mind and a knowledge of the hypothesis of the 10 neuro
commandments that we can now turn to conflict resolution procedures, and discuss how well our
default mechanisms for resolving differences are suited to our neurobiological composition and
conditioningasaspecies.

34

Althoughitmaybeasomewhatuncomfortablethought,mediationmaybeconsideredasaformofhypnosis.
Although the common definition of hypnosis is that it is a trancelike state that resembles sleep, it is in fact a
processthatpermitsanewmentalstateofmind,wheresubjectsarefullyawakeandcanrefocustheirattention.
Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnosis.Insofarasaskilledmediatormaychangeapartysperception,byusing
differentwordsorreformulations,(s)hemayinfactbeactingbyinducingoractivatingnewpathwaysforconscious
appraisal,e.g.,byactivatingapartysCsytemtoassessanoptionasopposedtotheirXsystem,orbytriggering
theirtowardsreflexesasopposedtotheirawayreflexes.Thisraisespotentiallydisturbingandnewconcerns
abouttheethicsofusingneurobiologytoshapeADRprocesses,asdiscussedinSectionVIbelow.

Page12of36


III.

APPROPRIATEDISPUTERESOLUTION:COMPETITIVEvs.COLLABORATIVEPROCESSES

There is a wide range of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes available to the
parties whenever a dispute arises.35 We tend, however, to operate at the extreme ends of this ADR
spectrum when faced with an emerging conflict, jumping straight into litigation after attempts to
negotiatehavefailed,orusingprocessesthattendtoescalatethedisputeratherthanseektoresolveit
optimally when considered from a neurobiological perspective. Joanna Kalowski, a leading Australian
mediator,presentsthespectrumofchoicesasfollows:

35

Forreasonsalreadyexplainedbythisauthorinapreviouspublication,itisbettertodescribeADRintermsof
Appropriate as opposed to Alternative or Amicable Dispute Resolution. By separating litigation or
arbitration from negotiation, mediation, conciliation and other dispute resolution processes, parties and their
counsel will start to think of them as mutually exclusive options, as opposed to as possibly complementary
processes, that may have positive neurobiological synergies. See J. Lack, Appropriate Dispute Resolution: The
SpectrumofHybridTechniquesChapter17inADRinBusiness:PracticeandIssuesacrossCountriesandCultures,
A.IngenHousz(ed.)(2011),availableonlineat:http://imimediation.org/index.php?cID=278&cType=document.

Page13of36

Figure3:J.KalowskisADRSpectrum
The default and natural form of behavior of most disputants (and their lawyers) it to act
adversariallyorcompetitively.Littlethoughtisnormallygiventotheprocessitself,oritsimpactonthe
futurerelationsbetweentheparties.TherearethreedistincttypesofADRprocessesthatuseaneutral
withinKalowskisADRspectrum:mediation,conciliationandarbitration,asindicatedinredinFigure3
above. Each ofthem may have a very different impact onthe parties futurebehavior, when viewed
fromtheperspectiveofneurobiologyorthe10neurocommandments.Theincreasedlossofcontrol
orincreasinglyadversarialnatureoftheprocess,asonemovesfromoneextremeofthespectrumtothe
other, suggests that different fear and cognitive appraisal processes may be activated depending on
whichprocesswaschosen.Thisputsanewlightonthestatementgivenatthebeginningofthispaper
by David Plant, a wellknown arbitrator and mediator, regarding the importance of choice of process,
andthevaryingusesorstylesofanADRneutral,whichmaybeakeypartoftheproblemtoberesolved
from a neurobiological perspective. Selecting an optimal process neurobiologically may thus very
wellshapetheoutcomeitself.Theuseofaneutral,however,presupposesanaturaltendencybythe
partiestotrytonegotiateatfirst.Itisimportant,therefore,beforecomparingthesethreeformsofADR
thatarefacilitatedbyaneutral(amediator,conciliatororarbitrator)tothereforefocusonnegotiation.

Page14of36


AlthoughnegotiationispresentedinKalowskisspectrumasbeingthemostconsensualprocess,
wherethepartiesretainfullautonomy,andwherethereisnobodyelsepresenttoevaluatetheprocess
orwithwhomapartycanseekacoalitionindecidingwhoisrightandwhoiswrong,thereisanatural
tendencyforhumanstotrytousepowerorpersuasiontoconvincetheotherpartytoletthedominant
partyhavethingsitsway.Thus,althoughnegotiationsmaystartoffpleasantandconsensual,thereis
alsoatendencyforthemtobecomeincreasinglyconflictual,whichiswhythirdpartiesareoftenbrought
intohelpresolvethematter,ortosimplydecideit.
There are two fundamentally different modes of negotiation possible, which typically lead to
different forms of human behavior: one is intuitive, and resorts to our natural neurobiological
tendencies(the10neurocommandments),andtheotheroneiscounterintuitive,butcanleadtoa
better social process and optimize Csystem thinking to envisage and create new solutions. The
formertypeofnegotiationiscalledpositionalnegotiation,inwhichtwopartiesrealizethattheyhave
different positions as to what should be an acceptable outcome, and seek to persuade and influence
oneanother(exertingpressureifnecessary) to abandontheirrespectivepositions. Thelattertype of
negotiation is called interestbased negotiation (sometimes also referred to as problemsolving
negotiation),wherethepartiestrytoavoidtakingpositionsbutseektoidentifyoneanothersneeds
andconcerns,andjointlyexploreoptionsformutualgain.Muchhasbeenwrittenaboutbothtypesof
negotiation, but they merit being reviewed once again in light of the possible neurobiological
implicationsthatusingonesystemornegotiationmayentailasopposedtoanother,andinlightofthe
10neurocommandmentspresentedinsectionIIabove.Althoughitispossibletoframethisdebatein
terms of positional (or adversarial or competitive) as opposed to interestbased (or
cooperativeoramicable)negotiation,thisanalysisextendsnotonlytonegotiationbuttoallforms
ofADR,wherethenaturalhumanreflextoresolvemattersadversariallyorcompetitively(i.e.,starting
frompositions)alsotendstoinfluencethewaysinwhichneutralstendtobeappointedandused(e.g.,
asevaluativeneutrals,asopposedtononevaluativeneutrals).
ApositionalnegotiationorADRprocessisessentiallyacompetitiveoradversarialprocess.Itisa
tugofwarofpositions,eachsidetryingtoinfluencetheotherpartytoreachacompromiseclosertoits
ownstartingposition.Thisisanaturalandinstinctivewayofresolvingdisputes,whereeachpartywill
use a combination of carrots and sticks to activate away reflexes and towards reflexes and try to
influence the other disputant. By definition, the parties separate and distinguish themselves as
belongingtooneoranothercamp,asseparategroups,whichmakesitmoredifficulttoempathizewith
oneanorther.Partieswilloftenusepower(financial,social,reputationalorotherwise)toconvincethe
otherpartytomoveintheirdirection,andwillleveragetheirlegalrightsandthreatenintermsofwhat
might happen in a court of law as a sanction for not behaving. This form of negotiation is basic and
instinctive.Itactivateslonglastinganddominantfearreflexes.Itleadstopsychologicalphenomenaof
anchoring(wherebyeachpartywillrefusetomakeafurtherconcessionorshiftitspositionuntilithas
seenasignfromtheothersidethatitiswillingtomakeasimilarconcessionorequallyshiftitsposition)
as well as reactive devaluation (where an offer from the other party is viewed as a risk in view of its
source, and is consequently automatically rejected or devalued). These sorts of conflicts frequently
escalate as the frustration builds up, while each party accuses the other of being intransigent. What
seemed to initially be perceived as the other sides inability to understand rapidly escalates to being

Page15of36


perceivedasstubbornness,badfaith,orathreatthatneedstobecontrolled,initiallybylimitedsteps
and ultimately by a form of war. Neutrals are oftenbrought into suchnegotiations when the parties
starttohitawall.Theinstinctisstilltousetheneutralcompetitively,however,byaskingthemtotakea
positionaswell,orseekingtocreateacoalitionwiththatneutral.Whereasneutralscaninvokethelaw,
rightsorexternalobjectivenormstotryandactfairly,ortoreachanoutcomethatwillbedeemedtobe
in accordance with social norms, this too is essentially a positional approach, using externally shaped
norms as the basis for reaching an outcome. In such cases, although a neutral will start off as being
impartial,theneutralwillbepulledtoonesideoranotherandwillusuallyenduptakingonepartysside
overtheothers,basedontheirevaluationofthelawandthefacts.Bythetimeanawardisrendered,
anarbitratorisoftenperceivedasbeingpartial,nomatterthecaretakentotrytoact,andbeseento
act,impartially.Iftheneutralisactingasamediator,(s)heisstilllikelytobepushedbythepartiesto
expressaviewinfavorofonesideasopposedtoanother.Mediatorsmaybeaskedtofacilitatepurely
positional negotiations, where it is common for the parties to try and convince the mediator to put
pressureontheothersideincaucus.Thesemediationsofteninvolvetheneutraldoingalotofreality
testingwiththeparties,andrelyinggreatlyoncaucusesorprivatesessions.Mediatorswhenfacilitating
such positional or competitive negotiations will oftenusebracketing techniques to allow each side to
demonstratetheirwillingnesstocompromiseiftheotherwillreciprocatefairlyandcompromiseaswell,
dependingonhowdeeplyanchoredorentrenchedtheyarewithrespecttotheirpositions.Positional
negotiations or ADR processes may be viewed neurobiologically in terms of the 10 neuro
commandmentsasdiagrammaticallydepictedinFigure4below.

Figure4:Positional(CompetitiveorAdversarial)DisputeResolution
InpositionalADRprocessesthetenneurocommandmentsarelikelytobeprimednegatively
duetotheinherentlycompetitiveoradversarialnatureoftheseprocesses.Thepartieswillnotbehave
empatheticallyandexpecttobepressedtomakeconcessions.Theywillexpectandseektoavoidpain,
Page16of36


arelikelytobedominatedbypatternsoffear,mayhavenosenseofcertaintyorpredictabilitydueto
theirperceptionoftheothersirrationalorbadfaithbehavior,maybeinfluencedbystrongemotionsof
anger,arelikelytoavoidall social interaction withtheotherparty(oftenpreferringtospeakthrough
theirlawyers,orusingcaucusesifamediationhasbeenstarted),mayfeeltheirstatusbeingquestioned
orundermined(e.g.,havingbeenaccusedofwrongfulbehavior),maybecomecompletelyincapableof
empathizinge at all with the other side (who is viewed as belonging to an adversarial group), may
perceivethatotherasactingunfairly(thusfurtherexacerbatingsensesofpainorsocialexclusion),may
feeltheotherpartyisimpingingontheirautonomy,andmayberenderedincapableofhighorderC
systemcognitivethinking,asdominantemotionalneuralnetworksmayconsumeoxygenandglucose
andlimittheabilityforobjectiveanddispassionateanalysis.Thisexplainsthetendenciesoftheparties
towardsanchoringandreactivedevaluation.Thelikelyresultofsuchprocesses,ifthepartieshavenot
beenabletoreachacompromisewithintheirzoneofpossibleagreement,andiftheneutralisnotable
tochangetheprocessorimposeanoutcome(asinarbitration)isfurtherescalationoftheconflict,and
itisnotunheardofforpartiestorejectanarbitralawardandrefusetocomplywithit.36
The alternative form of negotiation or ADR processes, however, whereby the parties are
encouragednottofocusonthreatsorfears,butontheirinterests,aremuchlessinstinctiveorintuitive.
This reorientation of the parties attention to what is positive as opposed to negative can have
fundamentaleffectsontheirbehaviorandpermitentirelynewwaysofprocessingdatarelatingtothe
conflictintheirbrains,somewhatanalogouslytoDeMartinosexampleofreframingthingsaskeepv.
lose.PositionalnegotiationsorADRprocessestypicallyendinwinloseorloseloseoutcomes.It
ispossible,however,togeneratewinwinoutcomesusinginterestbasedADRprocesses,eveninthe
most entrenched positional situations. This is where an understanding of the neurobiological
implications of various processes may be key. The choice of process may in and of itself change the
neural pathways that are activated in the parties decisionmaking networks, and lead to completely
unexpectedresultsorfaster,betterand/orcheaperoutcomesascomparedtopositionalADRprocesses.
ThisformofnegationwasfirstproposedbyRogerFisher,WilliamUryandBrucePattonintheirseminal
work Getting to Yes, and is sometimes referred to as problemsolving negotiation or dispute
resolution, whereby the parties work collaboratively on solving the problem rather than trying to
convinceoneanotherofanything.
InterestbasednegotiationorADRprocessesarecounterintuitiveandhighlycognitive,requiring
heightenedcorticalthinking.Theyrequireconceptuallyseparatingthepartiesfromtheproblem(thus
depersonalizing negative personal emotions), focusing on interests rather than positions (invoking
towardsreflexesasopposedtoawayreflexes)andinvokingmutualneedsratherthanindependent
strategies.IninterestbasednegotiationsorADRprocesses,thepartiesareencouragedtounderstand
oneanothers alternatives to a negotiated agreement (i.e., their best, worst, probable and/or
reasonable alternatives to a negotiated agreement referred to in ADR jargon as their respective
BATNAs, WATNAs, PATNAs and/or RATNAs), butnot for thepurpose of inducing positional or

36

The escalation of conflicts in such cases is perfectly mapped out in nine steps by Friedrich Glasl in his book
ConfrontingConflict,HawthornPress(2002).These9stepscanfurthermorebeusedtodiagnosetheconflictand
craft appropriateinterventions. They arediscussed belowat Section IV. See also J. Lack (2011)atfootnote39,
supra.

Page17of36


competitivebehavior.Thepurposeofunderstandingthesealternativesisrathertoprovideareference
point with respect to time, costs, possible outcomes and likely consequences if no agreement is
reached,andtoseeiftheparties can work cooperativelytogenerateoutcomesthatwouldbebetter
than their respective BATNAs or PATNAs.37 This involves working cooperatively, brainstorming to
explore and generate new possible solutions (based on needs and interests) before evaluating them,
andseekingoptionsformutualgainthatcanbeimplementedormonitoredusingobjectivecriteria,so
thatbothpartieswillhaveanincentivetocomplywiththefinaloutcome.Suchprocessesalsocreatea
senseofsharedpurposeandcancreateanewsenseofbelongingtothesamegroup,wheretheparties
are more likely to empathize with oneanother and seek to cooperate. Where these processes are
properlyhandled,thereislittlechanceoftheconflictescalatingandthepartiesareoftenabletocome
upwithsolutionsthatwouldnothavebeendreamedasevenbeingremotelypossibleusingapositional,
competitiveoradversarialADRprocess.

Figure5:InterestBased(CooperativeorAmicable)DisputeResolution
The neurobiological impact of using nonevaluative interestbased or problemsolving ADR
processes is summed up diagrammatically in Figure 5. From the perspective of the ten neuro
commandments,suchprocessesarelikelytoactivateneuralpathwaysanddecisionmakingprocesses
thatareverydifferentfromthosenormallyusedinpositionalADRprocesses.Theyarelikelytotrigger
ingroup behavioural patterns and allow the parties to empathize naturally, and generate trust
betweenthemselves. Byseekingacooperativeapproachfrom theverybeginning, thedisputantsare

37

Usually one partys Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) will be the other partys Worst
AlternativetoaNegotiatedAgreement(WATNA)andviceversa.

Page18of36


notconditionedtorespondtopotentialfearsbuttotryandshapeandgeneratetheirownrewards.If
the techniques of Getting to Yes (and related literature) are skillfully applied, it is likely that away
reflexeswillbe abated andthepartieswillactivatereward(andtowardsreflex)circuits. Ifthreats
are removed, the parties should be more willing to engage in dialogue, listen to oneanother, and
engage in instinctive empathy and cognitive perspectivetaking (which is more energy consuming).
Social gregarious impulses create a sense of in group cohesiveness as the parties jointly tackle the
problems that face them. The absence of any evaluative third party in interestbased negotiations
means that no coalitions can be sought, so there are reduced risks to status, loss of face or loss of
autonomy. The reduced activation of the anterior insular cortex (the AI) is likely to allow more
interpersonal phenomena, such as compassion, fairness and cooperation. Most importantly, by
breakingtheprocessdownintoajointexercise,wherethepartiesalignthemselvesbyseekingoptions
formutualgainthatcanbeobjectivelytrackedandimplemented,trust(andoxytocin)maybereleased,
Xsystem standard interpretation of patterns of behavior may be abated, and the parties are more
likelytobeabletoactivatetheirhigherlevelCsystemanalyticalpathwaystoassessthesituationfrom
adifferentperspective.ThisisthelogicbehindCollaborativeLaw,wherebythepartiesandtheircounsel
forsakefuturelitigationandcommittoresolvingadisputecooperativelybyjointlysigningaparticipation
agreementobligingthelawyerstowithdrawfromengaginginanylitigiousactivitiesifnegotiationsare
not successful. In doing so, parties and their counsel effectively commit to working in a cooperative
frameworkwithgreatersocialintegrationandenhancedcorticalthinking.Suchprocessesoftendonot
includeaneutralforfearthataneutralmaystarttoactevaluatively.
Bringinginaneutral,however,canbringmanybenefits,evenininterestbasednegotiationsor
in collaborative law situations. If skilled facilitators are brought in to act nonevaluatively, they may
have an immediate systemic effect and their mere presence may immediately provoke unconscious
changesinstatus.Itisimportant,however,fortheseneutralstorealizethepotentialimpactoftheir
additional presence, and to adapt themselves and their social behavior to build upon preexisting
cooperativeandingroupbehavioralreflexes.Itisallthemoreimportantinsuchcasesfortheneutral
nottoactevaluatively,nottoassertahighsenseofstatus,nortoactasifthiswereapositionalADR
process.Theyshouldunderstandtheirrolenotonlytobeprimarilyfacilitativebutinthecontextofa
socialprocess.
Although two different approaches of positional v. interestbased ADR may sound
somewhat theoretical and even utopian, they are commonly used with great success by skilled ADR
professionals.Itisextremelyimportantforthepartiesandtheseprofessionals,however,tounderstand
how their role and presence may impact the neurobiological propensities of the parties and their
counsel to perceive or process things differently depending on whether a
positional/competitive/adversarial ADR framework is used, or an interestbased/cooperative/amicable
ADRframeworkisused.Itisimportanttoalsoremember,however,thathumansarebiologicallyprimed
toinstinctivelyusethepriorADRframeworkbydefault,andthattheseprocesseshaveexistedsincethe
dawnoftime.Theseprocessescorrespondtohumannatureandthewaydisputantsandtheircounsel
arehardwired,andarelikelytoprefertoactasanimals,whenresolvingconflicts.InterestbasedADR
processes are more difficult to explain or implement in view of their counterintuitive nature. They
often require suspending disbelief and setting aside natural instincts. This is one of the reasons why

Page19of36


manydisputantsandlawyerswillpreferlitigationovermediation,andwhysofewcaseswillactualend
upinmediationintheabsenceofexternalpressurefromjudgesorpublicpolicypressuretodoso.The
use ofhybrid ADR processes may beof particular interesthere, as the parties can seek to operate at
bothlevelssimultaneouslyorsequentially:followingtheirnaturaltendenciestoactcompetitivelybutat
thesametimeallowingthemtoapproachtheconflictinanewway,withthebenefitsthatcooperative
problemsolvingoftenentail.OnceinterestbasedADRprocesseshavebeenimplementedtheytendto
workextremelysmoothlyandreducetheriskoffurtherconflictescalation. Theycanalsoprovidefar
betteroutcomesthanpositional,competitiveoradversarialADRprocesses.Theneuralpathwaysofthe
partiesandtheircounselbecomeattunedtobuildingrapportandworkingcooperativelyasateam.
In many situations, however, there is no real choice. Collaborative Law processes succeed
becausethelawyersinvolvedinthemarehighlyskilledandtrainedininterestbasednegotiation.The
formality of the process (e.g., the signing of a participation agreement) creates a clear ingroup
dynamic where the team is united on its desire (and need) to reach a mutually acceptable outcome
throughcooperativebehavior.Itisdifficultfordisputantsorlawyers,however,whohavehadlittleor
notrainingininterestbasedADRtoabandontheirpositions,exposetheirintereststooneanother,take
stockoftheiremotionsandtheirpatternsofcognitivereflection,andindulgeinempathybuilding.Itis
forthisreasonthatbringinginaneutralcanbehelpfulasacomplementtonegotiation,andwhycourt
annexedADRprogramsaretobeencouraged.Onceagain,thechoiceastowhichtypeofADRprocess
or neutral to use, and what skills to bring in, is very important. Should this neutral be directive or
facilitative,nonevaluativeorevaluative?38Ifevaluative,shouldthisbeasanormgeneratingneutral,a
normeducating neutral, or a normadvocating neutral?39 The choices can be laid out in a modified
RiskinGridasshownbelowinFigure6.

38

SeeL.L.Riskin,DecisionmakinginMediation:TheNewOIdGridandtheNewNewGridSystem,NotreDame
LawReview,Vol.79:1,pp.153(December2003)
39
SeeE.Waldman,IdentifyingtheRoleofSocialNormsinMediation:AMultipleModelApproach,HastingsLaw
Journal,Vol.48No.4(1997)

Page20of36

Figure6:SelectingADRProcessesusingaRiskinGrid
Each of these neutrals or styles of ADR processes may activate the neural pathways of the
partiesandtheircounseldifferently,dependingonhowtheneutralsroleisperceived.Itisimportant
forthepartiestodecideiftheywishtheneutraltoactamediator,aconciliatororanarbitrator,which
going back to Kalowskis ADR spectrum, reflects three different zones in the ADR spectrum. It is
important to differentiate between these three types of ADR neutral, as each process is likely to
implicatethetenneurocommandmentsdifferently.
There is considerable confusion in the international conflict resolution circles between the
wordsmediationandconciliation,whicharebelievedbymanylawyerstobesynonymous,butarein
fact very different processes from a neurobiological perspective. In order to better understand the
difference between mediation and conciliation, it is useful to start with arbitration, and to compare
themvisuallyasisdonebelow.

Page21of36

Figure7:Arbitration,ConciliationandMediationCompared(J.Kalowski)
Arbitration, conciliation and mediation are three commonly available forms of Appropriate
Dispute Resolution. Understanding the differences between them is important when assessing these
proceduralchoicesfromaneurobiologicalperspective,asmediationisanonevaluativeprocess(where
Page22of36


noevaluationorcoalitioncanbesoughtwiththeneutral),whereasinconciliationandarbitrationthe
neutralssubject matterexpertise is typicallysought tohelpsetnorms,makeproposals or decidethe
matter (acting evaluatively and as a person with whom a coalition can be built). This distinction
between arbitration, conciliation and mediation is very important from a neurobiological perspective,
butisoftenconfused,especiallyininternationalcommercialdisputes.40
Inarbitrationthepartiesdelegatecontroloftheprocessandtheoutcometoathirdparty,the
arbitrator or panel of arbitrators sitting as an arbitral tribunal. The resolution of the dispute is thus
decidedbythearbitraltribunal.ThisisaclearpositionalADRprocess.Theroleofthelawyersandthe
objectiveofthepartiesistoconvincethetribunaltoresolvethematterinaccordancewiththepositions
onwhichthetribunalhasbeenbriefed,andwhichthelawyershaveadvocated.
In conciliation, the process is somewhat positional, but also less clearly sothan in arbitration.
Theconciliatoractssomewhatasanarbitrator,butdoesnothavethepowertoresolvethematter.The
conciliatoractsevaluatively,byidentifyingobjectivenormsbywhichtheprocesswouldbeinvolvedbya
tribunalorcourt.Theconciliatortypicallyhelpsthepartiestounderstandtheparametersthatcouldbe
usedtodispositiveofthematter,andtounderstandthekeyelementsineachpartyslineofreasoning,
identifying key issues of fact or law. It is ultimately a process of helping the parties to reach a
compromisewithinaZoneofPossibleAgreement(ZOPA)definedbythepartiespositions.Basedonthe
conciliators understanding of the applicable law or the rules of the relevant industry by whose
standardsasolutionmaybesought,thepartiesareassistedinidentifyingprecedents,rulesoracademic
doctrines that would suggest an outcome. The conciliator helps the parties to understand possible
outcomethatwouldbereachedapplyingthesenorms,andhelpsthepartiestosetanewZOPAinwhich
they cannegotiate an outcome similar to whatthe law or another objective process wouldprovide
for,butdoingsomorespeedilyorcosteffectively.Theconciliatorcanalsomakeproposalsbasedon
theseparameters,andsuggestpossibleoutcomestothepartiesbasedonthesenorms.Conciliationis
thus a process that can be procedurally facilitative, but substantively evaluative, since possible
outcomesareidentifiedandresolvedbymeansofobjectivenormsandcriteria.Itremains,however,a
positionalandcompetitiveprocess,albeitonewherethepartieshavegreaterautonomy.

40

This confusion between conciliation and mediation is captured by the UNCITRAL Model Law on International
Commercial Conciliation (2002). Article 1(3) of the Model Law states that For the purposes of this Law,
conciliationmeansaprocess,whetherreferredtobytheexpressionconciliation,mediationoranexpressionof
similarimport,wherebypartiesrequestathirdpersonorpersons(theconciliator)toassistthemintheirattempt
to reach an amicable settlement of their dispute arising out of or relating to a contractual or other legal
relationship. The conciliator does not have the authority to impose upon the parties a solution to the dispute.
(Emphasisadded).YetunderArticle6(4)itisclearthattheUNCITRALmodellawisaimedatanevaluativeprocess,
sinceitstates:Theconciliatormay,atanystageoftheconciliationproceedings,makeproposalsforasettlement
ofthedispute.(Emphasisadded).MediationpuristswoulddeemthistomeanthattheUNCITRALmodellawis
not directed to mediation where no proposal should ever be made by the neutral but only to conciliation,
whereaconciliatorisencouragedtomakeproposalsandcanbeusedcompetitivelyasaresult.Puristswillargue
thatamediatorshouldnevermakesettlementproposals,andinanyeventnotatanearlystageoftheproceedings
orbeforehavingbeenaskedtodosobyallparties.Fromaneurobiologicalperspectivethesedifferencesarequite
fundamental.TheyspelloutthedifferencesbetweenacompetitiveADRprocessandacooperativeone.

Page23of36


Inmediation,however,theprocessoughttobepurelycooperativeandinterestbased.41There
isnoZOPA.Norarethereanyobjectivecriteria.Thegoalinmediationisforthemediatortofocuson
each partys subjective desires, and to help them to articulate them and reach an outcome based on
thesesubjectiveconsiderations,whichwillbemutuallysatisfactorytobothsides.Unlikeaconciliator,a
mediator refrains from making proposals unless requested to do so by both parties or as part of a
general brainstorming exercise to propose new options. The mediators job is to help the parties to
reach a resolutionto the dispute that is basedontheir subjectiveneeds and interests, looking tothe
future.42 From a neurobiological perspective, the job of a mediator may be described as minimizing
perceptionsofdanger,enablingcognitiveappreciationsofemotions(e.g.,verbalizingthem)todampen
amygdalaandhelpthepartiesselfregulate,recognizeADRnotonlyasafacilitatednegotiation,butas
partofasocialprocessinwhichthedisputantscanrelateingroup,bond,demonstrateempathy,and
buildcomfortablesocialrelations.ThemediatorenablesthepartiesinsodoingtodampenXsystem
cognition,andresorttoCsystemoptimaldecisionmaking,allowingcognitiveassessmentsofpossible
rewards(perspectivetakingv.empathy)toshapefutureoutcomescooperatively.
Thisisnottosaythatmediationisbetterthanarbitrationorconciliation.Eachdisputehasits
owndynamicandallthreeprocesseshavethebenefitofenhancingreflectivev.reflexiveappreciation,
albeitindifferentways.Eachone,whenmanagedproperly,canassistthepartiesinreachingoutcomes
thatcanbeenforced(ifnecessary)orcompliedwith,andfasterandcheaperoutcomesthanresortingto
traditionallitigiouspathways.Eachonehasitsrespectiveadvantagesanddisadvantages,whenassessed
intermsofwherethepartiesarelocatedintermsofconflictescalation.Thereisahigherrisk,however,
afteranawardisissuedbyanarbitratororaproposaloropinionarerenderedbyaconciliator,forthe
partiestoviewitasunfairorbiased,evenifthiscanbeprovennottohavebeenthecase.43Thepointis
that these various ADR processes should all be considered and assessed in parallel, in terms of their

41

ThismorethecaseincontinentalEuropethaninNorthAmericaandtheUK,wheremediationisconsideredto
be a dispute resolution process that is distinct and separate from conciliation. In the USA and UK, however,
mediationisoftencombinedwithorhandledinthesamewayasconciliation,asasomewhatevaluativeprocess.It
isoftenthecasethatmediationsarerunasasingledaylongprocessinthesecountries,wherethemediatorstarts
offacting nonevaluativelyinthe morning (e.g., purely facilitatively), but becomes increasinglyevaluative during
the day (and thus, changing into a conciliator) closer to the end of the day, when the neutral has had several
caucusesduringthedayandhasanideaastowherethecasemightsettle.Itisalsoincreasinglycommoninthese
countriesforthe partiesand the mediator to proposethat (s)hemakes amediators settlement proposal at the
endofthedayifthecasedoesnotsettle,whichmeansthatthepartiestendtoviewtheneutralasapersonwhose
opinionmatters,andneedstobeinfluenced.Thefocusisthuslessontheothersidesunderstandingandinterests
thanontryingtoinfluencethemediatorcompetitivelytoformaviewofthecaseclosertothepartyspositions.
42
This distinction between mediation and other forms of ADR is captured in the Swiss Rules of Commercial
Mediation,asfollows:Mediationisanalternativemethodofdisputeresolutionwherebytwoormorepartiesaska
neutralthirdparty,themediator,toassisttheminsettlingadisputeorinavoidingfutureconflicts.Themediator
facilitates the exchange of opinions between the parties and encourages them to explore solutions that are
acceptable to all the participants. Unlike an expert the mediator does not offer his or her own views nor make
proposalslikeaconciliator,andunlikeanarbitratorheorshedoesnotrenderanaward.(Introduction,p.5,para.
2,emphasisadded).
43

SeeB. Bediouetal,Effectsofoutcomes andrandom arbitrationonemotionsin acompetitivegamblingtask,


FrontiersinEmotionScience(inpublication).

Page24of36


possible neurobiological impact on the parties, their counsel and their mental decisionmaking
processes,takingintoaccountthetenneurocommandments.
IV.

CONFLICTESCALATIONTHEORYANDPROCESSDESIGN

Anunderstandingofthetenneurocommandmentsclearlysuggeststhatthetypeofprocess
that is used is likely to have a huge influence on the outcome. It gives credence to David Plants
quotation at the beginning of this article, which is often a blind spot in many litigations. Once a
processhasbeenchosenitactuallybecomespartoftheproblemitself.Thepartiesandtheircounsel
oftenlimittheirthinking to what theprocessrequires,and willbeconditionedtobehaveina certain
way, trapped by their unconscious patterns of perception and behaviour, and only using their
traditionalXsystemnetworks,thusoftengraduallyleadingtoincreasinglyentrenchedpositionsoran
inability to look to the future or to seek possible outcomes for mutual gain that analyse the clients
interestsdifferently.
Muchhasbeenwrittenaboutthedangersofconflictescalationandthepropensityofpositional
orcompetitiveADRprocessestoescalateiftheydonotresolvethemselves,oriftheneutralisnotable
to assist the parties in reaching an agreement or imposing an outcome. Conflict escalation theory,
however, is a topic seldom taught in law schools. Yet it is a vital elementto take into account when
designingADRprocesses.Itisnotatopiconthebarexamofmostcountriesorstatesanditisaconcept
manylawyersarenotfamiliarwithatall.Theconceptcanbehelpfultodiagnoseandidentifywherea
conflict currently stands, and its propensity to escalate further or to deescalate. This can help the
partiestoreflectonpossibleneurobiological mechanismsinfluencingtheprocess,whichmayevenbe
driving its escalation. Identifying a conflict along a measurable scale (even if it requires subjective
appraisal) allows parties and their counsel to think numerically, where and how they are currently
positionedonit,andwhichareaofthescaletheywouldliketoresolvetheirdispute.Thesimpleactof
askingthepartiesandtheircounseltonumericallystatewheretheyareonascaleandwheretheythink
the other party is on the same scale, can trigger new thinking and perspectivetaking, using cortical
pathwaystorevealunexpectedanswers.
AnexampleofsuchascaleistheninestepdiagnostictestdevelopedbyProf.FriedrichGlasl,an
Austrianneutralandconsultant.Itisextremelyhelpfulwhenanalysingconflictsfromaneurobiological
perspective and when thinking of appropriate procedural interventions. Glasls 9 step scale suggests
thattherearethreepossiblezonesinwhichthepartiesmaywishtoresolveaconflict:awinwinzone
(which is essentially where interestbased ADR is practiced, and where the parties can work
cooperatively), a winlose zone, (in which there can be a winner and a loser in a conventional
positionalADRprocess),andaloselosezone(wherethepartiesmaybestuckandmayfeelthatthey
need a third party neutral to simply come in and decide the situation for them).44 This scenario is
termed loselose because even if the neutral (e.g., an arbitrator) is capable of fully resolving the
matterinacosteffectiveandrapidmanner,theemotions,time,energyandotherresourcesthathave
beenspenttodateaswellaslostrelationshipscanneverberecouped.

44

F. Glasl, Konfliktmanagement. Ein Handbuch fr Fhrungskrfte, Beraterinnen und Berater, (Bern: Paul Haupt
Verlag,1997).Seealsowww.trigon.at.

Page25of36

Figure8:Glasls9StepsofConflictEscalationandADROptions
ThesethreezonescorrespondtoGlaslsninestepsintheconflictescalationscaleasindicatedin
Figure 9 above. This escalation cycle is typical in positional ADR processes, which are the default
methods we use to resolve conflict, and each step merits further attention and can be described as
follows:
1. Stage1:DisagreementTheProblem:Thepartiesbecomeawarethattheyhavedifferentviews
aboutanissue.Thedisagreementtakesonthedimensionofaproblem,wherethepartiesstartto
discusstheproblemandseektobringtheotherpartyaroundtotheirlineofthinking.Iftheycannot
agree,theirviewsthentendtohardenintopositions.
2. Stage2:Debate&PolemicThePeople:Theproblemhasturnedintoapositionaldispute.The
partiesarearguinganddebatingtheirrespectivepositions.Theywishtheothertounderstandthe
logicandstrengthoftheirposition,andtoagreewithit.Ifadebatehasnotresolvedthematter,a
senseoffrustrationsetsin,andthepartiesenterStage3.
3. Stage3:Actions,notWords:Oneorbothsideswillstarttotakeaction.Thepartiesperceptions
arethattheyhavetriedtonegotiateingoodfaithbutfailed,andthattheotherisbeingobstinate,
unreasonable or in bad faith. Communication breaks down as each party believes that further
discussion is useless. The natural step in the escalation cycle is Stage 4, as the parties feel that
nothingcanbeachievedthroughfurtherdialogue.
4. Stage4:ImagesandCoalitions:Thedisputantsstartcreatinggroupsorcamps,seekingrecognition
frompeers,leadersorexpertsastothecorrectnessoftheirpositionandtoreinforcetheirimageof
themselvesasbeingrightandtheotherpartyasbeingwrong.Theyareinpain.Havingfailedto
convince the other side, each side tries to convince third parties to confirm they are right, or to
interveneontheirbehalf.
Page26of36


5. Stage5:LossofFace:Themomentapartyhassucceededinwinningoveragroupofpeople,the
othersidewillseeitsimageasbeingtarnishedandasbeingunderattack.Theresultisperceivedas
adeliberatelossoffacedeliberatelycausedbytheotherparty.Incollectivistsocietiesthismaygive
rise toprofoundfeelingsof shame. Publicrefutationisnowrequired. Thisrefutationmustshow
thattheotherdisputantisneitherright,norreasonablebutsimplywrong,causinghim/hertoalso
losefacewithinhis/herowncommunity.Thereisastrongsenseofangerorhumiliationthathas
beencreated,whichrequirescorrectivemeasures.Thepartieswillalsostartattributingantagonistic
intentionstotheotherpartysobservedbehaviour.
6. Stage6:ManagementofThreat:ByStage6,theothersidesbehaviourandrefusaltochangehas
now become a threat that must be managed and contained. There are now clearly two groups:
thosewhoarerightandthosewhoarewrong.Thedisputantswillstarttomakecounterthreats
andimposeultimatums.Lettersbeforelegalactionwillbesent.Partiesarenowentrenchedintheir
positions and there is mutual fear given that their initial threats and deadlines have not been
heeded. If the threat will not disappear, remedial action will be needed. The brain resorts to
instinctivepressuretacticstoconvincetheothersidetogivein.
7. Stage 7: Limited Destructive Blows: The parties feel compelled to take protective measures and
start to exert real pressure, such as initiating legal proceedings. They feel they have become the
agents of the other partys actions, and are compelled to take appropriate measures to defend
themselves. They perceive their actions as reasonably constrained and feel that they are mere
respondingtotheotherpartysintransigence,havingnootheroptions.Theirautonomyisseriously
impinged. By now, all communication between the parties is deemed to be useless and even
counterproductive. The disputants prefer to communicate only via their lawyers, and all social
relations and opportunities to restore relations are cut off. It is now a matter of survival and
protecting oneself. Fear and the away reflex has become the fundamental factor driving the
partiesbehaviour.
8. Stage8:FragmentationoftheEnemy:Atthisstagethepartiesareinpureselfpreservationmode.
Theconsequencesofeachpartyslimiteddestructiveblowsisthattheotherpartyfeelswounded,
andunderincreasedpressuretotakeevenmoreforcefulanddemonstrablemeasures.Theconcern
isnotbecomingoneofsurvival.Asthepartiesincreasethepressureononeanother,thisleadsto
furtherfragmentationandthepartiesstartfightingopenly.Atthisstage,theotherpartyceasesto
beconsideredasapersonbutasanenemy.Itneedstobedealtwithonceandforall.Noempathy
orhumancontactisevenconceivable.
9. Stage9:TogetherintheAbyss:Bythisstage,thepartiesarenolongerreasoningintermsoftheir
ownpreservation.Angerandadesiretopunishtheotherstartstosetin.Inextremecases,thegoal
hasnolongerbecomewinningthedisputebutsimplyinflictingthegreatestamountofdamageand
destroyingtheotherparty.Atthisstagetheconcernisnotonlyaboutsurvival,butpunishingthe
enemy and exacting revenge. Matters have degraded so far that inflicting greater harm on the
othersidethantheyhaveinflictedthemselvesbecomesaseriousmotivation.Thedesiretodestroy
the other side overtakes everything else. Whether the disputant loses all of its assets, has to
fabricateevidence,hastolie,gobankrupt,orriskajailsentenceisnolongerimportanttothem,so
longastheothersideisdestroyed.Thisphaseisaptlycalledtogetherintotheabyss.

Page27of36


It is possible to see from Figure 8 how these nine steps correspond to the ten neuro
commandments, and to understand how each of these ten social and behavioural drivers can be
impacted by procedural interventions as the conflict escalates. The challenge becomes how to de
escalatetheconflict,andmoveitbackintothegreenwinwinzone,ifpossibleandifthisiswhatthe
parties wish. It is also important at this stage to realise how the presence of an evaluative or non
evaluativeneutralcanmakeabigdifference.Theborderbetweenstages3and4iscrucial,sincethatis
wherethepresenceoftheneutralmayshiftthepartiesbehaviourfromapositional/competitivestance
intoaninterestbased/cooperativeone. Thiscanoccurbothways.Bringinginafacilitative(butnon
evaluativeneutral)canhaveanimpactatallstagesoftheconflictevenatstage9sinceitallowsthe
partiestotaketimeouttofocusforamomentonpossiblerewardsandwhether,andifsohow,they
wishtobringtheconflictbackintothegreenzone.Thiscanoftenbeachievedbyusingcombinationsof
ADR processes and hybrids.45 Whereas arbitrations can be very effective in the red zone, where the
partiesfeelincapableofresolvingtheproblemthemselvesanylonger,conciliationscanhelptheparties
to compromise rapidly and cheaply the yellow zone. Mediation, however, remains a ubiquitous
possibility,thatcanhelpthepartiesreachthegreenzoneandstaywithinit.Theneutralinthiscase,
however,mustbeverycarefulandconsciousoftheconsequencesofbecomingevaluativeandallowing
the conflict to migrate to step 4. By acting evaluatively the neutral runs the risk of escalating the
process once again through the creation of a coalition, thus reactivating competitive and positional
neuralpathways.
Viewed differently, it is possible to caricaturize the escalation process in terms of neural
pathways and regions of the brain that exert a key influence on how the case is evolving is shown in
Figure9below.

45

SeeJ.Lack(2011),supraatfootnote39foradiscussionofhybridsandhowtheycanbeused.

Page28of36

Figure9:PossiblebrainregionsthatmaybecomemoreprevalentateachofGlasls9Steps
Although it is preposterous and scientifically impossible to accurately characterize the green,
orangeorredzonesofGlaslsstagestothebrain,itmaybehelpfultodososimplyasametaphorfor
conflict,andtounderstandthatdifferentzonesofthebrainorneuralassembliesmaybedominantat
variousstages.Thus,thegreenzoneinwhichhighordercorticalthinking(theCsysteminparticular)
isdominant,canbedelineatedfromtheorangezone,inwhichemotionalorlimbicresponsesprevail,
and the red zone may correspond to disputes where the parties are behaving instinctively and
animalistically through their fight, flight or freeze survival instincts, without cognitive reflection.
Understandingthiscanhelptheneutral,thepartiesandtheircounseltohavearenewedappreciationof
howthey are functioningand in whatzone of thescale they wish to resolve it. It is thenpossible to
shape appropriate and neurobiologically compatible interventions to alter the process, using interest
based ADR techniques, or by combining neutrals such as a mediator, a conciliator and an arbitrator,
workingtogether.
V.

USINGANEUROCOMPASSINADR

Keeping track of the ten neurocommandments and trying to guess possible implications of
whatmightbehappeninginthebrainatvariousinstancescanbeadizzyinglycomplicatedtaskandlead
to dangerously wrong prognoses. Our knowledge of neurobiology is woefully incomplete, and much
moreremainsunknownthanknown. Fortunately,simpletoolsalreadyexistthatcanbeusedtohelp
navigatethesecomplicatedwaters,whichdonotrequirescientificunderstandingoraccuracy,butcan
helptotriggeranawarenessofinvisibleneurobiologicalinfluencesthatmaybedrivingtheprocessand
can be used by neutrals to shape ADR processes. The overarching principle from a neurobiological
Page29of36


perspective that that optimal cognitive outcomes can only be achieved by paying attention to the
process itself, as well as the underlying emotions and social dynamics that are affecting the parties
behavior in groups or as between groups. This principle may be summed up with the acronym
COPESassummarizedinFigure10below.

Figure10:COPESasaNeurocompass,andotherkeyvariables
Thekeyvariablesinthisneurocompassmayfurtherbesummarizedandrememberedusingthe
acronyms MADFAST (for emotional parameters), SCARF (for social parameters), CAPEX (for cognitive
paramaters)andDEFTIP(forproceduralconsiderations).Theabilitytodetect,diagnoseandinfluence
each of these variables is likely to enhance a partys or their counsels ability to reach an optimal
outcome.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to go into the details of each of these variables or
mnemonics.Thatwhichtendstobemostneglected,however,isthesocialdriversinvolvedinanyADR
context. Mediation has often been described as a facilitated negotiation. This, however, misses an
important part of the picture. Mediation is not not only a facilitated negotiation, but also a social
process, where the mere presence of one or more neutrals will disrupt traditional patterns of social
interaction (e.g., as between two negotiators or opponents), and create a new opportunity of
developing a new sense of shared community dynamics for the purposes of allowing the parties to
resolvetheirdifferencescollaboratively.DavidRock,aleaderinthefieldofleadershipandmotivational
management,hascoinedthewordSCARFasausefulmnemonicbywhichtorememberfivekeysocial
drivers that may influence a mediation that are often overlooked. Rocks hypothesis is that human

Page30of36


behaviorcanbesimplymonitoredandaffected(includingalltenneurocommandments)byfocusing
onthesefivekeydriversofsocialbehavior:Status,Certainty,Autonomy,RelatednessandFairness.He
explainsthisconvincinglyina2008articlethatthereaderisrecommendedtoread.46
Although Rocks model is mainly framed to help managers to lead teams of people in the
workplace(andhasindeedbeenusedtocreatehisNeuroLeadershipInstitute47),itcanbeappliedtothe
fieldofconflictresolutionandcanhelpneutralsandlawyerstothinkaboutsuitableADRprocessesand
interventionstopreventandresolvedisputes,prepareforthem,preparetheiropeningstatements,and
determinehowandwhentomakecertaininterventions.Itcanbeusedtocreateasenseofbelongto
the same group, enabling natural empathy and creative cooperation to exist as more resources are
freedupinthebrainintheabsenceofanyawayreflexbeingactivated.SCARFcanhelptothinknot
only in terms of reaching settlements, but in in terms of what process will correspond best to the
parties needs and interests, and will result in outcomes that will have a greater chance of being
compliedwith.TheacronymScanalsobeusedasaneffectivetooltoimmediatelydiagnosewhatmight
beactivatingawayreflexesandbeusedtogeneratetowardreflexes,assetoutbelowatFigure11.

Figure11:D.RocksSCARFMnemonicasaPossibleNeuroCompassinADRProcesses
COPES and SCARF are acronyms that are easy to remember and can be useful lenses through
whichtoreassessADRprocesses.Theycanalsohelptopartiesandtheircounseltendtounderstand
why part discussions have failed, and the consequences of automatically entereing into litigation or

46

David Rock, SCARF: a brainbased model for collaborating with and influencing others, NeuroLeadership
Journal,Issue1pp.19(2008),availableonlineat:http://www.yourbrainatwork.com/files/NLJ_SCARFUS.pdf.
47
Seehttp://www.neuroleadership.org/.

Page31of36


arbitrationproceeedingsmerelybecausepastattemptstonegotiatedirectlybetweenthepartieshave
failed.
Innegotiations,eachpartyseekstohaveaheightenedsenseofstatusandautonomy.Where
these are positional, the parties may feel under stress due to their inability to control or accurately
predicttheotherpartysbehaviourwithanysenseofcertainty,andanysenseofrelationshiporwhatis
fair,islikelytobehighlyconditionedbythepartiesemotions.Norarethepartiesabletoconstructa
senseofsharedgroupidentitythatwouldallowtheircooperativeandcreativepatternsofbehaviorand
reflectiontobeactivated.Theseparationofrolesbetweenthepartiesandtheirlawyersmayalsobe
unclearinnegotiations.Inarbitrationorlitigation,however,thepartieshaveaclearstatusandtherole
of the arbitrator or the judge is clear. The parties are either the plaintiff/claimant or
defendant/respondent,andtheirlawyershavea clearunderstandingofwhattheirroleisandwhatis
expectedofthem.Althoughthepartiesaredeprivedofacertainsenseofautonomy,theymayfeelthey
gain greater certainty (e.g., that there will be an ultimate outcome), and that they are no longer
interestedinanyrelationshipwiththeothersideinviewofthelevelatwhichtheconflicthasalready
escalated.Byprovidingthejudgewiththestatustodecideeverythinginthenameoftheruleoflaw,
andbyallowingthelawyerstoactastheiradvocates,thepartieshaveasenseofreducedstatus,which
alsopromotesassenseoffairnessandbalanceofpower.Alloftheparticipantsknowtheirrolesand
functions,andtheincreasedformalityoftheprocessallowsthepartiestosuppresstheiremotionsand
trytofocusinsteadonapplyingalegalsyllogismwherebyfacts+law(s)=outcomes.Eachsidehasa
senseofbelongingtoagroup(thegroupthatisrightasopposedtotheothergroupthatiswrong).
Thisexplainswhypartiesandtheircounselwillreadilydefaultbringinginthirdpartiesasanarbitratoror
resorttojudicialproceedings.
Thedifficulty that many parties andcounselhaveinaccepting mediationorconciliation as an
ADR process may also be understood in terms of SCARF. The parties and their counsel often are
confusedbytheirsenseofstatus.Thedelineationsoftherolesbetweenapartyandcounselareless
clear,andmanylawyersopenlyexpressasenseofdiscomfortoralackofunderstandingoftheirrolein
mediation,whichexplainstheirtendencytooftentryandadvocatetoamediatorasthough(s)hewerea
judge,andseektocreatecoalitionswiththem.Partieswillalsooftenhesitatetospeak,feelingthatthey
do not have appropriate status to do so in opening statements in mediations or conciliations. The
partiesandtherecounselmayalsostartoffwithaheightenedsenseofuncertainty.Theymaythink:
What if no outcome is reached? What if the other side will drag the mediation or conciliation on
interminably?Thesethoughtsmaygiverisetopatternsoffearorawayreflexes,causingtheparties
andtheircounseltoinstinctivelyavoidsuchADRprocesses.Althoughautonomyandrelatednessmay
beoptimizedinsuchADRproceedings,thismaynotbereadilyunderstoodorappreciatedbytheparties
of their counsel. In many cultures, the display of emotion may be viewed as a loss of face or as
somethingtobeavoidedinjointsession.Assuch,thecounselortheneutralsmaypushthepartiesto
work primarily in caucuses as opposed to in joint session. This may have the effect, however, of
deprivingthepartiesofreconnectingatasociallevel,workingcooperatively,ordevelopingasenseof
relatedness.Ifthepartiesarepushedintocaucuses,itisdifficulttoseehowconfidencebuildingsteps
canbetaken,howasenseofbelongingtothesameingroupmaybecreated,orhowthepartiesmay

Page32of36


develop trust, generate the release of oxytocin, empathize, have a shared experience, or allow their
mirrorneuronstobeactivatedbytheotherpartyssignsofdistressordiscomfort.
It is thus incumbent on neutrals, especially when working as mediators or conciliators, to be
particularly sensitive to the five social drivers that are encapsulated in the acronym SCARF and to
consider each of the variable in COPES and how to prime the parties to be able to reach the best
possibleoutcome,usingtheirowntowardsreflexes.Theneutralshouldensurethathis/herpresence
andsenseofstatusisunderstood(beinghigherasanexpertinthecaseofconciliationthanasaprocess
facilitatorinmediation).Itisalsousefultoremindthepartiesthattheyaretheprotagonistsininterest
basedADRprocesses,astheyaretheyaretheonlypeopleintheroomhavingexpertisewithrespectto
interests.Lawyersshouldalsobeencouragedtoparticipateandtheirsenseofstatusacknowledgedas
the valued advisors of the parties, who normally will have greater expertise when it comes to
understandingthepartiesalternativestoanegotiatedprocess(atleastintermsofwhatthelawmay
have toprovide asabenchmark). Itis also importantfor mediatorsandconciliators to recognizethe
lackofcertaintythatmaybeaffectingthepartieswillingnesstotrytheseproceedings,aswellasthatof
theircounsel.Thiscanbedonebyplacinggreateremphasisonpriorpreparationswiththepartiesand
theircounselbeforehavingafirstjointsession,helpingthepartiestounderstandtheirroles,whatmay
happen,andbysettinganagendaforthemediationprocessearlyon.Itisimportanttounderlinethe
partiesautonomy,intermsofthevoluntarynatureofbothmediationandconciliation,andhowneither
partymaycompeltheothertodoanything.Relatednessmaybebuiltbyoptimaluseofbreaks,joint
sessionsandevenasocialprogramorsettingthatisconducivetogeneratingpositiverelations(e.g.,by
sharingmealstogether,orhavingingroupbuildingexercises).Finally,fairnessisakeyaspectofall
ADR processes, whereby there should be fairness not only procedurally, but also substantively. This
senseofsubstantivefairnessislikelytohappen,however,wherebothsidesseeoneanotherasworking
cooperativelyandasgenuinelyseekingoptionsformutualgain.Itisforthisreasonthatthesettlement
awards that are produced in mediation are often preferred to arbitral decisions or conciliators
proposals,andarenormallycompliedwithautomaticallyinthevastmajorityofcases.
UnderstandingCOPESandSCARFcanalsobeusedasaneutralasarapiddiagnostictestasto
whatmay havegonewrong inadiscussionornegotiation, andtodiagnoseobstacles orimpediments
that might have surfaced. Often the process may not be optimal as it does not allow new cognitive
apprecuationof the dispute, or allow the parties to empathize or free cognitive resources to think
creativelyordoperspectivetaking.Animpasseisoftentheresultofanuncomfortablesenseofstatus
oraninabilitytoempathize(e.g.,eachsidesunwillingnesstoallowtheothertoventasavictim),a
lackofcertaintyastowhatmighthappennextorwhatmaybeanotherpartysintentions,aperceived
lackofautonomy(hencetherecommendationtouseanothermnemonic:ACBDAlwaysConsultBefore
Deciding), a breakdown in a sense of relatedness (e.g., the perception of two separate groups) and a
perceived lack of fairness of process, in offers that were made, or of substantive outcome when a
conciliatorformulateshis/herproposal.Thesemaybealleviatedbyhighlightingthepartiesautonomy,
and refocusing on their shared values or interests. It may also be useful to structure the negotiation
process by ensuring similar preparations and priming the parties to use their Csystems by having a
cognitiveappraisaloftheiremotionsandtaskingthemtofilloutchartsordecisiontreeswhenshaping

Page33of36


theiranalysesortheiroffers.48Ultimately,COPESandSCARFareremindersthatcanbeusedtohelpall
participants feel valued, safe, autonomous, interrelated, and capable of working collaboratively to
generatethebestoutcomestheycanusingtheirCsystems.
COPESanditsvariables(includingSCARF)maythusbeusedasatooltoplanforADRprocesses,
toadvocate,makeopeningstatementsandinterventions,dealwithimpassesorcloseanADRprocess.
Manyproblemscanalsobepreventedorresolvedbyapplyingthissimplemnemonicanditsvariablesto
conflictual situations and using them as a compass, to diagnose what may be driving a dispute, what
patternsofhumanbehaviormaybeblockingit,andwhatmaybeanappropriateprocessforresolving
it.49

VI.

THEETHICSOFNEUROADR:ANEWCONCERN?

ADR and process design raise many new issues when considered from a neurobiological
perspective.Understandingthehumanbrainandtheimpactofthetenneurocommandmentsmay
giverisetoallsortsofstrategieswherebytheparties,counseland/ortheneutralsmaytrytomanipulate
oneanotherorwheretheprocessitselfmaybecomeatoolformanipulation.Thisraisesmanynewand
serious ethical concerns concerning party autonomy (in terms of selfdetermination and informed
consent),proceduralfairness(intermsofpowerbalanceandthedifficultyofthehumanbrainnottoact
emotionally or with a certain sense of unconscious bias), and substantive fairness (especially with
respect to vulnerable stakeholders or where parties are induced into voluntarily accepting outcomes
thatmaybefarworsethantheirProbableAlternativetoaNegotiatedAgreement(PATNAs).Canany
humanbeingreallyactindependently,impartiallyandneutrally?Neurobiologywouldsuggestthatwe
areallhighlyinterdependent,thatweautomaticallyseekstatus,expectrecognitionofourperception
of selfdeemed status, and requirepositive relations with others. It also suggests that we act multi
partially(byautomaticallyempathizingandmirroring)asopposedtoimpartially,andthatneutrality
isamyth,inviewofouremotionalhardwiring.
This has serious implications for arbitration and litigation as well as all ADR processes. The
InternationalCodeofEthicsoftheInternationalBarAssociationandtheIBAGuidelinesonConflictsof
Interest in International Arbitration (2004) may need to be reviewed in view of what neurobiology
suggests, especially with regards to general standards regarding such terms as impartiality,
independenceanddueprocess.Itisalsopossiblethatthetenneurocommandmentsdescribedin
this paper will prove to be wrong, or to reflect on the authors own cultural biases. Mankind has a
terrible track record when it comes to pseudoscientific assessments of human and behavioral
intelligence,resultinginwhatcanonlybecalledwithhindsightscientificracism.50

48

Agoodexampleofapreparationtool,whichbuildsonallfivedimensionsofSCARFwhenpreparingforanADR
processordesigningoneistheOnlineEvaluationFormOldevelopedbytheInternationalMediationInstitute
(IMI).Seehttp://imimediation.org/ole.
49
It is interesting to see howtheprinciples of SCARFalsooverlap with thecontents ofD. Stone etal.,Difficult
Conversations:HowtoDiscussWhatMattersMost,(VikingPenguin,1999,revised2010).
50
Seee.g.,S.J.Gould,TheMismeasureofMan,W.Norton&Co(1981,rev.1996)

Page34of36


Itmayconverselybethatifthisarticleprovestobeaccurate,andthatpartiesmayindeedbe
hypnotizedormanipulatedintousingcertainmentalassembliestobehaveacertainway,andthata
neutralmayusehis/herunderstandingofneurobiologytoinfluenceanoutcome.Ifso,itisallthemore
important for ADR neutrals to be transparent in their conduct and to explain procedural from a
neurobiological perspective so that the parties may have a cognitive appreciation of the potential
implications of a neutrals suggestions. Although the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators
adoptedbytheAmericanArbitrationAssociation,theAmericanBarAssociation,andtheAssociationfor
ConflictResolutionin2005setclearcriteriaformediators,neurobiologyraisesnewtensionsbetween
someofthestandardscontainedinthisdocument(e.g.,SelfDetermination,Impartiality, Competence
and Quality of Process). Moreover, there is little or no discussion about how ethical obligations may
varyinaccordancewiththetypeofADRprocesschosen.JAMSMediatorsEthicsGuidelinescontaina
firstruleofconduct,whichappliestoallADRcasesandshouldpossiblybeconsideredasanewstarting
pointforallADRprocesses.Itreads:I.Amediatorshouldensurethatallpartiesareinformedaboutthe
mediator's role and nature of the mediation process, and that all parties understand the terms of
settlement.51Thiscouldbeinterpretedwithrespecttoanunderstandingoftheneurobiologicalimpact
ofprocessesaswell.
Thisarticlerunstheriskoffallingintothetrapofcreatingconfusionorissueswherethereare
none,orraisingissuesfarbeforeweareequippedtohandlethem.Whenreviewinganearlydraftof
this paper, Ken Cloke issued the following warning: For me, the difficulty is what to do with the
research, and how to translate it into technique without slipping into the worst sort of opportunistic
manipulation.Ithinkthiswarningneedstobestatedveryclearly.I'mnotconvincedthatanyofushave
got the approachright yet, and would want to leave the issues open for discussion while at the same
timeexaminingeverythingweknowaboutconflictresolutionfromthepointofviewofbrainresearch.I
amnotsurewehaveeithertherightanswersortherightattitudetowardfindingthem.Ithinkitwould
behelpfultoinvitemediatorstojoininasystematicexaminationofwhathasbeenlearnedandhowto
use it.52 This is a sensible and prudent way of stating the issue. At the same time, we may all be
manipulatingorbeingmanipulatedconstantly,asitis,unconsciously.Inthatcaseitisprobablyuseful
for people to become neuroaware, and appreciate the ways in which they might be manipulated

51

See http://www.jamsadr.com/mediatorsethics/. The comment to this rule reads as follows: A mediator


shouldensurethatallpartiesunderstandandagreetomediationasaprocess,themediator'sroleinthatprocess
and all parties' relationship to the mediator. The parties should also understand the particular procedures the
mediatorintendstoemploy,includingwhetherandinwhatmannerthemediatormayhelpthepartiesevaluatethe
likelyoutcomeofthedisputeincourtorarbitrationiftheycannotreachsettlementthroughmediation.Inaddition,
amediatorshouldbesatisfiedthatthepartieshaveconsideredandunderstoodthetermsofanysettlement,and
should,ifappropriate,advisethepartiestoseeklegalorotherspecializedadvice.Ifthemediatorperceivesthata
party isunableto give informedconsenttoparticipation in theprocess ortothe termsofsettlement dueto, for
example, the impact of a physical or mental impairment, the process should not continue until the mediator is
satisfied that such informed consent has been obtained from the party or the party's duly authorized
representative. In the event that, prior to or during a mediation session, it becomes appropriate to discuss the
possibilityofcombiningmediationwithbindingarbitration,themediatorshouldexplainhowamediator'sroleand
relationship to the parties may be altered, as well as the impact such a shift may have on the disclosure of
informationtothemediator.Thepartiesshouldbegiventheopportunitytoselectanotherneutraltoconductthe
arbitrationprocedure.
52
September14,2011emailfromK.CloketoJ.Lack.

Page35of36


without realizing it. There is also somewhere a fine line between manipulating and positively
influencing.Hopefullywewillfindtherightbalanceasourunderstandingofthisfieldprogresses.
Inthemeantime, ADRneutrals areencouragedtosendintheircommentsto this paper. The
creation of a group of ADR practitioners and neuroscientists willing to work together in this field,
compilesystematicfeedbackanddiscussanddevelopasetofbestpracticeswouldbeuseful.53
VII.

CONCLUSIONS

Assuming that humans are indeed conditioned or hardwired to approach conflict in certain
ways,andthatthetenneurocommandmentscontainedinthispaperhaveanysubstanceordegreeof
accuracytothem,itisimportanttotrytounderstandconflictsintermsofwhatmightbegoingoninthe
humanbrainandintermsofpossiblewaysinwhichwemaybeevolutionarilyconditionedtobehaveas
animals.LawyersandADRpractitionersshouldbeencouragedtolearnabouttheimpactofprocesson
outcome,andhowdecisionmakingprocessesormemoriesmaybeshapedorinfluenced.Evenifmuch
ofwhathasbeenpresentedinthispaperturnsouttobeoverstatedorincorrect,itistheprocessesof
reflection (and not reflexion) of lawyers that matter, with respect to both procedural options and
outcomes.Wemaybeinthedarkageswhenitcomestounderstandingtheneurobiologyofconflict.
Scientistsmayonlyhaveveryprimitive,large,costlyandcumbersomedevicesattheirdisposaltoday,
providingrudimentaryinsightsintothebraininsituationsofconflict.Yetnewdiscoveriesarealready
beingmadeeverydaythatcanhelplawyersandADRneutralstorethinkabouttheirpersonalpractices
and preferences, and reassess techniques or interventions they have used or made in the past and
thinkthroughpossibleinterventionstotryindifficultcases.
Whetheritisamatterofchangingaprocessfromacompetitivetoacooperativeframework,or
designing hybrid processes, an awareness of neurobiology can help us think anew about our
preconceived notions of traditional justice models or dispute resolution systems. There is a broad
spectrumofpossibilitiesavailabilitiestothepartiesinallcases.Negotiation,mediation,conciliationand
arbitrationallclearlyhavetheirownindividualadvantagesanddisadvantages.Eachcanbringdistinctive
benefitsdependingonwhenandhowtousesuchprocesses.Untilnow,thefocushasbeenonwhich
typeofprocessorneutraltouseandwhen.Inthefuturewecanimaginescenarioswheremorethan
oneneutralwillbeusedatatime,usingcreativecombinationsofADRprocessestoallowthepartiesto
operate and think through their conflict at many levels, while building constructively on human
tendencies to generate positive social relations, optimizing highorder cortical thought pathways, and
using the vast and creative talent that remains untapped in the human brain by moving away from
predominantpositionalandcompetitivedisputeresolutionpatterns.Insodoing,weshouldremember
thetwoopeningquotationsbywhichthispaperwasstarted:weneedtoconsidertheprocessitselfas
partoftheproblemandweneedtorememberthatwedonotperceivethingsastheyare,butaswe
are.

53

September14,2011emailfromH.LeifhebbertoJ.Lack.

Page36of36