legal reasoning: facts

Using Narrative Argument to Promote Favorable Results in Analytic Argument

How does the persuasive power of narrative promote success in analytic argument?

Feeling affects thought in the process of attributing subjective meaning to objective fact.

The Physiology of Feelings and Thoughts.

Cortex, cerebellum, and brain stem 
Physiological researchers tell us that the physical functioning of the brain provides a clue to how thought and feeling relate. 

We do our thinking in the neocortex, the most evolved, "highest" part of the brain, the seat of our rationality. Our feelings, particularly our fears, have roots in the cerebellum and brain stem, the most primitive part of the brain, the so-called "animal" or "base" brain, the seat of our emotions.
Sensory path from eye We perceive physical facts from the objective world around us through our sensory organs -- eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin. Sensory organs transmit signals by multiple routes. One route goes to the system at the base of the brain, another to the neocortex. 

But the base brain functions very quickly compared to the neocortex. Its reaction speed allowed our species to survive. It produces a nearly instantaneous, rudimentary, almost instinctive response (fight or flight) and immediately signals this response out to the rest of the body, including the neocortex.
Sensory path to neocortex So fast is the response that its output arrives in the neocortex virtually in parallel with the direct signal from the sensory organ, and well before the neocortex has processed the sensory signal to a rational thought. 
The rudimentary response from the base brain to the sensory input thus effectively joins in parallel with the sensory input itself, and both reach our higher cortical thought-processing apparatus more or less together.
We then undertake the process of rationalizing a perception of reality from the sensory input and our already formed and felt Gestalt response. 

The point is: we feel before we think.

Feeling leads rationality. Thought resulting from our higher cortical process seeks to produce rational meaning for what we have already interpreted with our base systems of quick response.

The Background, Experience and Individuality of the Listener.

Not only will a listener react to the emotion in a narrative before he reacts to the logic in it, but his reaction will depend heavily upon his previous life experience. Each decisionmaker (each person) starts with a stock of life stories that conditions his present perception, like templates against which the facts will be understood. These stories may overlap, even conflict. We have our own sometimes conflicting experiences and we also absorb myth, Biblical text, basic themes from literature, and popular culture. American pop culture is rife with stories of law enforcement officers brutalizing criminals, of humans subduing monsters, of animals being subjected to cruelty, of children being abused -- as well as stories of law enforcement officers as heroes, of monsters and animals overwhelming humans, of children being loved. Which stock story an observer will use as a template in reacting to a factual narrative may depend on which stories the observer has found most salient in the past, and on how artfully the storyteller triggers connections to the observer's store of stock stories and experiences.

The Combined Effects of Epistemology and Psychology.

Put these observations of epistemology and psychology together.
  The implications for lawyers are profound. Recognition at a descriptive level of how the process works leads to the possibility of becoming skilled at its manipulation in courtroom contexts. If you can tell your story in a way that disposes the decisionmaker to your side, the decisionmaker will be open to your logical argument, grateful to be supplied an argument that rationalizes his Gestalt response to the facts. This is key to jury trials, appellate briefs, and all forms of oral argument.