Episode 43: How Do Our Brains Decide What to Pay Attention To? Part III − With Host Caroline Mandell

Brain Skills, Writing Skills – Dec 2021

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Episode 43: How Do Our Brains Decide What to Pay Attention To? Part III − With Host Caroline Mandell
Broadcast Date: December 16, 2021


Following an insightful and popular five-part series on “Judgment Writing School” welcoming some of the top experts in the field, legal communication and litigation consultant Caroline Mandell is back to take us to “Brain School.” In this new three-part series, renowned neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists will help us understand how our brains work. They will also give practical advice on the do’s and don’ts in order to truly benefit from and protect this most valued part of our bodies.

In this third and last episode, host Caroline Mandell is welcoming Dr. Sophie Leroy, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Washington Bothell School of Business. Together they explore topics such as attention, distraction and procrastination and discuss their implications for judges – and all legal professionals – as high-volume decision-makers and writers.

Previous Episodes:
Episode #41: How Do Our Brains Process Information? Part I − With guest UNSW’s Emeritus Professor John Sweller
Episode #42: How Do Our Brains Get Things Done? Part II – With guest Professor David Badre (Brown University)


Dr. Sophie Leroy is an Associate Professor of Management. She received her Ph.D. from NYU, Stern School of Business. She joined the University of Washington Bothell in 2014. Dr. Leroy has several lines of research and has published her work in top scientific journals. Her primary focus has been to study the effects of interruptions on our ability to have focused attention and reach high performance. Her results help understand how to manage task transitions and interruptions to enhance focus and performance.

In particular, she developed and coined the term attention residue. Attention residue reflects situations in which people find it hard to be fully focused on the task at hand and instead find their attention shifting to other, unrelated tasks. Dr. Leroy’s research explores when and why attention residue occurs, how it affects performance, and how to prevent it when the effects are detrimental. Click here to learn more about attention residue and click here to view her media appearances. Her other line of research lies at the intersection of leadership, self-regulation, and diversity, exploring how leaders emerge within social system. Dr. Leroy teaches courses in Leadership, Managing High Performance Teams, Managing Globally, Ethical Decision Making.

She received many teaching awards, including the MBA program Faculty of the Year Teaching Award in 2019, 2018, 2016 and the Undergraduate Program Faculty of the Year Teaching Award in 2017. She created a leadership lab, that focuses on helping students conduct projects related to leadership, diversity, and inclusivity. Click here to learn more about past projects.


Caroline Mandell knows the Canadian justice system from all angles. She began her career developing justice policy at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. She then spent over a decade as counsel to the judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, working on complex appeals in every area of law. More recently, Caroline was an adjudicator with the Ontario Health Professions and Health Services Appeal and Review Boards.

Caroline is an expert in legal communication with particular interest in the cognitive psychology of information processing. She has taught decision-writing for the National Judicial Institute, the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, and for individual administrative tribunals, courts, and judges. She is also a litigation consultant, helping litigators craft winning arguments in difficult cases. Caroline has taught Legal Research and Writing at the University of Toronto and is one of the most popular instructors in Osgoode Hall Law School’s professional LLM program.

Caroline has a JD and an MA from the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 2005.

In All Fairness is a Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice podcast channel welcoming representatives from the legal community and exploring how we can all contribute to improving the administration of justice in Canada. Legal professionals will benefit from informed discussions on key issues, essential knowledge and insights to strengthen their practice.

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