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Social science research, current events & jury news all viewed through the lens of litigation advocacy with an emphasis on persuasion, bias, communication, and all phases of case preparation.

Rita Handrich
3 posts

Doug Keene
324 posts

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  • January 27, 2012
  • 07:02 AM
  • 61,446 views

Pretrial publicity & bias: Take a look at the age of your jurors!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Despite the Supreme Court ruling [Skilling v US] that pretrial publicity [PTP] does not bias the public perception and limit the right to a fair trial, most of us who have experienced the impact of pretrial publicity disagree. It is an accepted truism that older people are more conservative than younger people. So it’s interesting to [...]
No related posts.... Read more »

  • December 14, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 5,698 views

When you wear glasses you are less attractive but more smart and trustworthy

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Remember our posts on “the nerd defense”? Essentially, what they said was that wearing glasses resulted in more ‘not guilty’ verdicts for criminal defendants. Of course, the ‘real’ research did not really say that at all. It was more a creation of the popular media (to the chagrin of the researcher involved!). Now, however, we have [...]


Related posts:“The glasses create a kind of unspoken nerd defense.”
Beards and glasses: More ‘small stuff’ you might want to swea........ Read more »

Leder, H., Forster, M., & Gerger, G. (2011) The glasses stereotype revisited: Effects of eyeglasses on perception, recognition, and impression of faces. Swiss Journal of Psychology., 70(4). info:/

  • December 16, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 5,108 views

Was Sonia Sotomayor right about female judges?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

One of our early posts on this blog was a response to the furor over the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Essentially, Sotomayor said that our decisions are a complex product of information and our life experiences. We believe this too and were taken aback that so much negative press resulted from her [...]
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A long tall Texan (and an auto repair shop tale)
... Read more »

Choi, S., Gulati, M., Holman, M., & Posner, E. (2011) Judging women. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies,, 8(3). info:/

  • December 12, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 4,609 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: On getting older and wiser!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Growing older is not for sissies. ‘Some people’ have ‘senior moments’ and then tend to mock ourselves while we secretly worry that it signals the onset of dementia. Many trial lawyers avoid the older juror due to concerns about sleepiness, inability to track the evidence, or simply being checked out during the trial. It isn’t any [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: When to talk about racial bias and when to stay quiet
Simple Jury Persuasion: Got charisma?
Simple Jury Persuas........ Read more »

Worthy DA, Gorlick MA, Pacheco JL, Schnyer DM, & Maddox WT. (2011) With Age Comes Wisdom: Decision Making in Younger and Older Adults. Psychological Science. . PMID: 21960248  

  • February 9, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,864 views

We pray with closed eyes

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve talked about the “look inside yourself” strategy in case presentation before.  It’s a deceptively simple strategy to minimize bias and to help jurors get in touch with their moral center rather than operating blindly on pre-existing assumptions. Okay, so part of it may be in the delivery by our client Richard– who has a [...]

Related posts:“I can look into his eyes and just tell he is lying”

Imagine and decrease bias

The Jury Expert for May........ Read more »

  • March 11, 2011
  • 07:01 AM
  • 2,571 views

But, your honor! That witness was drunk!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You’ve probably seen intoxicated witnesses on TV shows and thought they were ridiculous. And we’ve seen mock jurors dismiss witnesses they believed to be either drunk or high. But have we given the intoxicated witness a bum rap? New research says maybe we really have. Researchers from Florida, Texas and Arkansas took a look at [...]


Related posts:“I can look into his eyes and just tell he is lying”
Tattoos: When should you clean up your witness?
Witness Preparation: First impressions R........ Read more »

Schreiber Compo N, Evans JR, Carol RN, Villalba D, Ham LS, Garcia T, & Rose S. (2011) Intoxicated Eyewitnesses: Better than Their Reputation?. Law and human behavior. PMID: 21336684  

  • July 1, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,540 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Should we channel Donna Reed and James Dean?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Really?  Tell me it isn’t so.  Okay. We are not so sure about this one. We’ve spent lots of time telling you about research that talks about being likable, how to be persuasive to juries, and the importance of jurors seeing you as “like” them but still true to yourself. So now, we have new research saying that [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Using attraction to your advantage
Simple Jury Persuasion: Tilt your head. (no kidding)
Simple Jury Persuasion: She reminds me of........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,493 views

Does desire trump beliefs based on facts when evaluating scientific evidence?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You probably know the answer to this question is yes. But the real answer is much more nuanced, which makes it so much more interesting. As it happens, if you are conflicted about the facts, you are more likely to be swayed by your desires than the facts themselves.  When I was in graduate school, [...]


Related posts:Generation Y (aka the Millennials): Just the facts
Why facts don’t matter
Faulty Logic: Cannabis, psychosis and fish oil
... Read more »

  • February 25, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,400 views

A screwdriver: The new addition to your trial toolbox? (We think not.)

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You truly never know what you’ll need in court. The unexpected happens. We are here to give you an edge. Back in May, 2010 we wrote about how people tend to remember things more when they are placed to their left. So we recommended you place your exhibits to the left while casually moving opposing [...]


Related posts:You’re on trial: Is it better to be an atheist or a black radical Muslim lesbian?
“Reactions vary along traditional partisan lines”
Secret Weapon: The Chairs in th........ Read more »

Oppenheimer, D., & Trail, T. (2010) Why leaning to the left makes you lean to the left: Effect of spatial orientation on political attitudes. Social Cognition, 28(5). info:/

  • October 8, 2010
  • 08:20 AM
  • 2,339 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: A Collision of Values and Attributions

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

When do liberals and conservatives veer away from their traditional styles of decision-making? How can you predict this and incorporate it into your case narrative strategy?... Read more »

  • June 1, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,337 views

Women who stalk: Who they are and how they do it

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

When we hear about stalkers, we generally think of men. But there are certainly women who stalk [estimated at 6% to 26% of stalkers] and now we have some research to give us information on identifying them. Like their male stalker counterparts, women who make threats are more likely to be violent; women who write [...]


Related posts:Women and true crime tales of rape, murder & serial killers
New research on men: What do we know now?
Voir Dire: Do you like tall extroverted men?
... Read more »

Meloy JR, Mohandie K, & Green M. (2011) The female stalker. Behavioral sciences , 29(2), 240-54. PMID: 21351135  

  • August 8, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,334 views

Detecting Deception: Be still my eyebrows!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a study we found at Science Daily and thought was a useful addition to our ongoing exploration of how to identify deception. While eyebrows have been found not useful in identifying Mormon faces, apparently they are useful in identifying deception. As it turns out, it is harder for liars to control the upper part of their [...]


Related posts:Detecting Deception Using the Law of Sufficient Motivation
Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Outsmarting liars (five decades of r........ Read more »

Carolyn M. Hurley, & Mark G. Frank. (2011) Executing Facial Control During Deception Situations. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 35(2). info:/

  • August 3, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,278 views

I’m disgusted (until I wash my hands and feel purified)

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It’s not just Pontius Pilate and Lady MacBeth, all of us feel better with clean hands. The disgust literature is everywhere these days. As it turns out, disgust is a powerful emotional motivator. Researchers recently attempted to see if being even minimally involved in activities that brought participants into contact with religious beliefs different from their own [...]


Related posts:Choosing to either disgust your jurors or tick them off
Eww! That is just disgusting! (but…very interest........ Read more »

Ritter, RS, & Preston, JL. (2011) Gross gods and icky atheism: Disgust responses to rejected religious beliefs. . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. info:/

  • June 24, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,256 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: When does the expert witness need to be prepared?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Expert witnesses often think they don’t need to be “prepared” and that “preparation” is a sort of insult to their professionalism.  “I’ve testified 100 times; trust me, I know the drill”. In truth, experts often need more preparation than fact witnesses and it is exactly because of their professional status. It isn’t about the expert’s [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Make Your Expert Optimally Persuasive
Simple Jury Persuasion: The Alpha Strategies
Simple Jury ........ Read more »

Dvoskin, J.A., & Guy, L.S. (2008) On being an expert witness: It’s not about you. . Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 15(2). info:/

  • April 4, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,232 views

Outsmarting liars (five decades of research)

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Like everyone else, we don’t like to be fooled. So we love the deception research and their efforts to find ways to avoid being fooled, tricked or deceived. Aldert Vrij is one of our favorite deception researchers. He has a new piece out on the “imposing cognitive load” approach to identifying deception. They review the [...]


Related posts:Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
We know liars when we see ‘em
Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
... Read more »

Vrij, A., Granhag, P., Mann, S., & Leal, S. (2011) Outsmarting the liars: Toward a cognitive lie detection approach. . Current directions in psychological science, 20(1). info:/

  • January 2, 2012
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,204 views

“I like you but I don’t know why”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Ahhh….it’s a good thing we know why. We write regularly about increasing likability of your client by making them “like” your jurors. And for the same reason, we cover research about values, attitudes, beliefs, community and family involvement and so on. This research nugget points out another way of making your client “like” the jurors–and [...]
Related posts:
A long tall Texan (and an auto repair shop tale)
Why facts don’t matter
Huge damages and playground logic
... Read more »

Gunaydin, G., Zayas, V., Selcuk, E., & Hazan, C. (2012) I like you but I don’t know why: Objective facial resemblance to significant others influences snap judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 350-353. info:/

  • December 17, 2010
  • 07:07 AM
  • 2,165 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Use Christian religious concepts to increase racial prejudice

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about racial biases in the courtroom.  As regular readers of this blog know, we look for ways to mitigate the impact of racial biases. We believe in social justice. We also know (although we don’t like it much) that there are times when in the interests of advocacy, it is important [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: When to talk about racial bias and when to stay quiet
Simple Jury Persuasion: Countering jury decision-making biases
Simple Jury Persuasion: You l........ Read more »

Johnson, MK, Rowatt, WC, & LaBouff, J. (2010) Priming Christian religious concepts increases racial prejudice. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2). info:/

  • June 15, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,160 views

“For $15M, I’d marry a saber-toothed tiger!”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Family law cases are almost always sad. They are typically filled with issues of bitterness, betrayal, rejection and character. And if those aren’t distressing enough under normal circumstances, in Texas—if you are rich enough and angry enough—you can have a divorce trial in front of a jury. Recently as we did a focus group on a particularly [...]


Related posts:Charlie Sheen or Tiger Woods? When behavior doesn’t fit the image
Choosing to either disgust your jurors or tick them off
Go........ Read more »

Vazire, Simine, & Carlson, Erika. (2011) Others sometimes know us better than we know ourselves. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(2), 104-108. info:/

  • February 4, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,142 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Stand up straight but avoid gesturing with your hands in front of the jury!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Just in time for the New Year—we have breaking news in research about how to achieve success and stay on message. First, Mom was right (again)! Stand up straight! And stop talking so much with your hands! It’s distracting. While Mom was right about that first one (stand up straight!) she was wrong about the reasons [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Powerful in the Courtroom
Simple Jury Persuasion: Avoid ‘oo........ Read more »

Susan Goldin-Meadow, & Sian L. Beilock. (2010) Action’s Influence on Thought: The Case of Gesture. . Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(6). info:/

Huang L, Galinsky AD, Gruenfeld DH, & Guillory LE. (2011) Powerful postures versus powerful roles: which is the proximate correlate of thought and behavior?. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 22(1), 95-102. PMID: 21149853  

  • September 9, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 2,126 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Would “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” still work?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Catchy slogans, phrases and themes have long been the hallmark of a persuasive courtroom presentation. But new research throws a question on whether they are as effective as we would like to think. Researchers compared the effect of both logos (brands) and slogans (phrases) on subjects. They discuss past research where showing the Apple logo resulted [...]


Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: “You know you want to trust me!”
Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simpl........ Read more »

Laran, J., Dalton A., & Andrade, E. (2011) The curious case of behavioral backlash: Why brands produce priming effects and slogans produce reverse priming effects. . Journal of Consumer Research. info:/

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