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Recently, I have been conducting some research on what items surrounding a person say about that person’s personality and then I was delighted to see a fascinating study on a related issue addressing people’s likes from Facebook.  In essence, the study research what predictive information can be gleened from a person’s “like” of something.

The researchers only evaluated items that had “likes” from more than 100 people.  The researchers used data from over 58,000 people as subjects.  The results were fascinating.

For example, likes of Sarah Palin, Indiana Jones, Swimming, and Pride and Prejudice were most predictive of the personality trait that the person was satisfied with life.  On the other hand, if the person liked “Gorillaz” “Hawthorne Heights” or Stewie Griffin, they were likely to be disatisfied.  In addition, if a person liked “Foursquare” or “Kaplan University”, they were more likely to be conscientious and well organized.  On the other hand, if they liked “Wes Anderson,” “Anime,” or “Join if Ur Fat,” then the person was more likely to be spontaneous.

Another way of looking at the likes would be in conjuction with each other.  If a person liked “The Godfather,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Plato,” and “Cheerleading,” that person would most likely be a high IQ, satisfied, liberal/artistic and extraverted person.

The ramifications of this research are vast.  This could be used in jury selection, in interrogation, and job interviews to say the least.

If you would like to know your own personality, you can test it at

By Steven G. Mehta

Steve Mehta

By Steven G. Mehta

What Would You Do If….

A party states that it has a bottom line number and has previously asked the mediator to identify it as a bottom line number.  The party has changed its mind but doesn’t want to lose face in front of the other side.

Gig Kyriacou:

I always caution parties to avoid making absolute bottom line offers because they are limiting their own options.  I let them know that I would rather see them make a less generous move to avoid impasse and to leave open the opportunity for further negotiations including the possibility of mediator’s proposals or other concessions that may get them where they want to go without having to lose face, or worse yet, credibility in future negotiations.  I simply do not allow bottom line proposals without first walking through what that means.  Again, when the parties understand the consequences of such a move and the possible alternatives, they almost always choose the right course.  It is just about thoroughly communicating the consequences and the better opportunities available.

Mike Young: Easy, blame the mediator.  Everyone else does (including my wife:  “Why did you let Eva Longoria and Tony Parker break up?”  “Uhhh, sorry?”)  In the mediation context, one party could simply say:  “I don’t want to move to this number; it’s beyond what has originally been authorized and what I think is fair; but the mediator has impressed on me the need to get this done, and if this new number will get it done, I’ll reluctantly go there.”  Or, use a Life Line:  “I’ll have to make a call to see if I can get more authority for this….”  Or go for the combo-excuse in the context of a Mediator’s Proposal:  “I can’t go beyond my bottom line unless I know the new number will close the deal, so if you Mr. Mediator, were to make a Mediator’s Proposal at X, I would call my client to see if I could get authority for that number.”  Or if all that trickery fails, try something really crazy…like the truth:  “I’ve changed my original bottom line based on the information I have learned from this mediation session.  I’m now willing to go to X.  (p.s., don’t expect me to move again.)  And I had nothing to do with Eva and Tony’s break up.”

Tracy Allen: Which is exactly why when the party tells the mediator to tell the opponent it is the bottom line, the mediator shouldn’t take the bait.

By Steven G. MehtaSteve Mehta

The saga of Carrie Prejean, the Miss California contestant for the Miss USA pageant who came out against gay marriage, had a picture of her breasts “accidentally” exposed during a photo shoot, and who sued the Pageant, which then countersued to get back their money for her breast implants, and who then settled the case when a sex tape was discovered of her, is still in the news.  But this time, she took on Larry “Inappropriate” King for the ultimate fight about mediation confidentiality. 

Here is a brief discussion of her interview in the Examiner….

Carrie Prejean nearly walked out of the Larry King show after calling Larry King inappropriate. Larry King asked Carrie Prejean about the sex tape that she made for her boyfriend.

“All right, let’s get to an embarrassing part for you and how you are handling it. You recently confirmed that when you were 17, you made what you call a private video, a sexual-type tape that you sent to your boyfriend. Have you seen the video?” Larry King asked.

Apparently, Carrie Prejean wasn’t interested in speaking about the sex tape and answered Larry by saying, “You know, I don’t think that’s the important issue, Larry. I think that, you know, there’s a video out there of me that I sent to my boyfriend at the time. And it was for private use. But does that justify my actions? No. And I take complete responsibility for the decisions that I made when I was a teenager. And I’ve learned a lot from it.”

Larry King asked Carrie Prejean if she told anyone at the Miss USA pageant about the video, she answered no and reminded the public that she wasn’t fired for any moral clause. Larry then asked Carrie Prejean if she planned to pursue legal action to block the video from being made public, especially since she was underage when the video was made. It was at this point that the ‘inappropriate’ behavior began.

Carrie Prejean answered,” You know, everything that was discussed, Larry, in mediation is completely confidential. And it seems as though I’m the only one holding up to that contract. So, if that’s the case, then I will stand by that contract, and abide by it.”

Larry King continued to press further, “Did you get a settlement?”

Again, Carrie Prejean answered, “That’s completely confidential. There was a confidential mediation. And I don’t think that needs to be discussed right now.”

Larry King broke for a commercial break but picked the topic back up shortly after Carrie Prejean called Sarah Palin her hero.

Larry King asked Carrie Prejean, “We’re back with Carrie Prejean. She’s the author of “Still Standing.” That book is available everywhere. We’ll take a call or two for Carrie in a moment. You sued the pageant after they fired you. They counter-sued. And then you accused them of a number of things including religious discrimination, clearly an issue very important to you. Why did you settle? You don’t have to tell me the terms of the settlement. But why settle, since you had a fight to carry on?”

To see the remainder of the interview, click here.

This interview, however, brings up the issue of what is confidential and what is not in mediation.

First, not everything about mediation is confidential.  It is not like in the Movie or show Get Smart where once something involves mediation, there is a cone of silence.  However, the question, did you get a settlement would remain confidential assuming the settlement agreement had a confidentiality clause.  If there was no confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, then the fact of the settlement and the amount would not be confidential.  This is because the check, the release, and other documents would exist outside of the mediation process.

Ms. Prejean’s answer to the question of why settle is not covered by confidentiality.  Her own thought process exists outside of the mediation.  The terms of the settlement remain confidential due to the confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, but the reasons do not.  She would be free to explain her reasons for settling.

Other things associated with the mediation would also not be confidential.  Anything that was in existence before the mediation, such as the sex tape would not be confidential.  Any comments that Ms. Prejean made before the mediation would also not be confidential.  What was said in the mediation, however, would remain confidential. 

If, however, a document or piece of evidence was created solely for the mediation such as a compilation of her sex tape, then that might be considered confidential. 

Obviously, confidentiality differs with each state and the issues discussed are simply general discussions.  But contrary to Ms. Prejean’s view, not everything arising from mediation is confidential. 

What are your thoughts about Ms. Prejean’s comments or about confidentiality?

Steve’s Book

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