The “law of primacy in persuasion” has been formulated as follows: The side of a controversial issue having the advantage of first position in the order of presentation is more effective in changing opinion than the side presented last, all other factors being equal. Recent experimentation has revealed that “primacy” is not “an indubitable factor in persuasion,” but occurs only under certain conditions. In this article, an effort has been made to evaluate the experimentation conducted in this area of communications research, and to determine if the conditions of the courtroom are such that order of presentation could be expected to influence the judgment of decision makers. This effort begins with a discussion of the theoretical explanations of “primacy” efforts. Why is it that the first of two equal, persuasive communications, under most conditions is more effective in persuasion than the second?
Robert G. Lawson, Order of Presentation as a Factor in Jury Persuasion, 56 Ky. L.J. 523 (1968).