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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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  • July 22, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 883 views

Twitter: Happy Christians and Surly Atheists

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Twitter is increasingly being used to assess the country’s mood following various major events. Researchers like it because it gives them access to huge quantities of tweets which contain feeling words or opinions or attitudes they can analyze to describe a sort of “national mood”. Researchers also believe tweets are uncensored expressions of mood/thought and [...]

Related posts:
An update on disrupting suspicion of atheists
If your jurors are happy, will they blame the victim less?
Is Tw........ Read more »

  • July 19, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 651 views

“That’s your story? Seriously?”: Believability of alibis

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You may have heard the idea that people fulfill our expectations so that if we expect accomplishment we often get it and if we expect failure, we can get that too. In research it is called ‘experimenter expectancy’ (and the reason for double-blind studies). In education it is called ‘the halo effect’. Turns out it’s [...]

Related posts:
Can reading a story make you a vampire?
Expert witness influence: Interrogation tactics and false confessions
You’re not too old for a story (but yo........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 813 views

Cathedrals, civic buildings and your tolerance for ambiguity

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You probably do not think buildings have anything to do with your ambiguity tolerance. Not so fast though. We are here to connect dots of many types, even when it sounds ridiculous. Researchers found that the mere act of standing in a parking lot next to either civic buildings or a cathedral made a difference [...]

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The Millennials (aka ‘Gen Y’): On tattoos, TMI, tolerance and technology
So help me God
Derogating do-gooders [like vegetarians] is how I roll


... Read more »

  • July 14, 2013
  • 02:30 PM
  • 809 views

Jurors, verdicts, guns, and a tragedy we’ll see over and over

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The Jury Room strives to be an objective resource for information about the issues we find in research and in the news. That does not mean that we are without opinions, obviously– we have beliefs and values and points of view just like everyone. And today seems like a good day to discuss the news [...]

Related posts:
Angry, fearful, gun-owning white men for Zimmerman?
Does the Prosecution want African-American jurors for the Trayvon Martin case?
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman: The tr........ Read more »

  • July 12, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 857 views

“Homosexuals” are worse than “gay men and lesbians”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Words matter. That’s how we’d sum up this particular research article’s findings. The author begins by citing a 2010 poll completed by CBS News and the New York Times. For half the respondents, the poll asked if the respondent favored “homosexuals” in the military. For others, the question asked was whether the respondent favored “gay men [...]

Related posts:
Is racial bias fueling anti-Obama rhetoric?
We don’t want education, we want confirmation
Voir Dire Tip: Are you ‘transp........ Read more »

  • July 10, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,798 views

“Ugly” workers are belittled and bullied at work

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written before about the advantages of being attractive. Anatomy may be destiny for some unfortunate “ugly criminals” who are sent to jail in higher numbers than their more attractive counterparts. Being pretty almost always has advantages although we did find one time when being pretty was a definite disadvantage and resulted in more likelihood of [...]

Related posts:
Attractiveness and being fired for poor performance
Is anatomy destiny? One more time on ‘ugly criminals’
“I........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 902 views

“I can tell how she feels by looking at her face…”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The idea that we can identify emotions by looking at facial expressions was researched and popularized by Paul Ekman in the late 1960s. He carried pictures around the world and showed them to a wide variety of people including isolated tribes who had never seen a foreigner like Ekman before. Ekman would show the photographs [...]

Related posts:
I can tell from your face that you are suicidal
Wearing your religion on your face
Head versus heart: Why it makes a difference


... Read more »

Barrett, L. F. (2006) Emotions as natural kinds?. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 28-58. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00003.x  

  • June 28, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,097 views

“Almost perfect lie/truth detection”: Incentives to lie

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a good one. We’ve written a lot about deception detection and most of us are really bad at it. Honest! We hate to be lied to but it happens repeatedly. So in our unceasing quest to understand the heart of deception detection, a sentence like this one grabs our attention! “Judges [people who are making [...]

Related posts:
Lie with impunity and without detection
Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Can you really sort out the liars from the truth tellers?


... Read more »

Bond, C., Howard, A., Hutchison, J., & Masip, J. (2013) Overlooking the Obvious: Incentives to Lie. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35(2), 212-221. DOI: 10.1080/01973533.2013.764302  

  • June 26, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,291 views

Head versus heart: Why it makes a difference

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Most of us have heard the advice to either “follow your head” or to “follow your heart”. There are times when we have chosen one direction only to later realize that we would have done better to take the other path. New research shows we all have tendencies to make decisions based on either our [...]

Related posts:
Does a ‘bad heart’ lead to a bad heart?
Are jurors more skeptical when a witness makes multiple IDs [some wrong] of the defendant?
Three letter words that make a huge dif........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 792 views

“Cultural competency” is important for your financial bottom line

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The “times they are a changin”. Being culturally competent is no longer just a quaint, politically correct idea. It can make the difference between success and failure. The new issue of The Jury Expert has an article from Michelle Ramos-Burkhart on cultural competency and your law practice’s financial bottom line. In essence, she says our world [...]

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The Jury Expert: Umami, your financial bottom line & your iPad
The foreign-language effect: ESL Jurors
Maybe you better........ Read more »

Ramos-Burkhart, M. (2013) Do you see what I see? How lack of cultural competency may be affecting your bottom line. . The Jury Expert. info:/

  • June 21, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 982 views

Is that quick decision a good indicator of your moral character?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Most of us can point to at least one bad decision we’ve made quickly. [Some of us should probably point to them a little more often. And maybe in advance, if that’s possible.] Often we have many excuses: we were young, we were intoxicated, we were pressured to choose too fast, and so on. But [...]

Related posts:
Judging books by their cover: More on facial clues to character
Which is the more moral negotiator? The male or the female?
Quick trial tips: Blinking, babies and on the left!


... Read more »

Critcher, C., Inbar, Y., & Pizarro, D. (2012) How Quick Decisions Illuminate Moral Character. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(3), 308-315. DOI: 10.1177/1948550612457688  

  • June 19, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 841 views

When in-group rebels have a cause…

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Despite the admiration we often have for whistle-blowers and the generous adjectives we might use to describe them (e.g., courageous, principled, moral) they almost uniformly have a very tough time. They are also seen as disloyal and mean-spirited by members of their former group and typically not revered as having the best interests of the [...]

Related posts:
“It was ‘a man’s work’ and I just didn’t like working with those incompetent women….”
Politics and prejudice? Nope. I........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 856 views

Rapport building: A waste of time with eyewitnesses?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Most of us likely think taking the time to build rapport in an interview setting makes sense. You want the interviewee to trust you and feel comfortable sharing information. But what about in a crime interview? Is it worth it? Specifically, does it accomplish anything other than making the eyewitness feel good? If even that? [...]

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Helping jurors ‘see’ what eye witnesses said they saw
The Jury Expert: Umami, your financial bottom line & your iPad
Eyewitness testimony: It........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 692 views

Want that job? Just recall a time you felt powerful!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about striking a ‘power pose’ in the past here. It was in relation to how to manage your appearance in court but now we have new research that says something much more odd and maybe even a little bit spooky. You don’t even have to be present for an interviewer to see you more [...]

Related posts:
“Ethnic-sounding first names” and getting the job
Can you really sort out the liars from the truth tellers?
Should you meet with that prospective client first or last?


... Read more »

Lammers, J., Dubois, D., Rucker, D., & Galinsky, A. (2013) Power gets the job: Priming power improves interview outcomes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 776-779. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.02.008  

  • May 27, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 705 views

Ask the judge for an autobiographical narrative from jurors?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Some judges (in our experience, mostly in Federal Court) ask jurors to orally provide autobiographical information to the court. Typically the judge has a list of questions on a board, and asks the jurors to stand and answer the questions that are listed, and sometimes “any additional information you think the Court should know.” Do [...]

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Which jurors most “feel” your client’s pain?
The Jury Room: A new blawg
Pretrial publicity & bias: Take a look at the age of you........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,634 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Pictures, Words or Pictures Words?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. Most of us think pictures are more persuasive than words. Recently I ran across a sentence in an article saying “it’s commonly believed that we remember 20% of what we hear and 80% of what we see”. Or something to that effect. I don’t know about you but [...]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: How pictures infer “truthiness”
Simple Jury Persuasion: Building Trust (but not) in Ten Easy Words
Simple Jury Persuasion: When to hand exhibits ........ Read more »

Richard E. Mayer. (2009) Multimedia Learning, 2nd Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. . DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511811678  

  • May 22, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,059 views

“Ethnic-sounding first names” and getting the job

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Shuki. Soukias. Raheem. Samir. Jamal. Lakisha. Atholl. Tyronne. Magestic. Did you know that something as simple as a first name makes the difference between whether you even get the interview? Last weekend we were doing a focus group and one of the mock jurors had a very unique first name. One of a kind. She [...]

Related posts:
Is there a relationship between age and ethnic prejudice?
Attractiveness and being fired for poor performance
Everyday racism: A comparison of African American and Asia........ Read more »

Cotton, J., O'Neill, B., & Griffin, A. (2008) The “name game”: affective and hiring reactions to first names. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(1), 18-39. DOI: 10.1108/02683940810849648  

  • May 20, 2013
  • 07:01 AM
  • 870 views

“I guess what he said wasn’t that bad”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

A while ago we did a focus group on a shockingly unethical healthcare provider targeting lower income zip codes for insurance fraud and the phrase “those Mexicans” came up in the deliberations. “That’s a good business model”, an older Caucasian woman said, “because those Mexicans will do whatever you tell them to do”. She seemed oblivious [...]

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Everyday racism: A comparison of African American and Asian American Women
Life lessons from mock jurors: “Money don’t........ Read more »

  • May 17, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,449 views

Is there a relationship between age and ethnic prejudice?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

As you have probably noticed, we read a lot of research here at The Jury Room. We are looking for nuggets of knowledge or pearls of wisdom we can apply to our day-to-day practice of litigation advocacy. If you’ve read our work on generations you likely already know there is a relationship between age and [...]

Related posts:
Pretrial publicity & bias: Take a look at the age of your jurors!
Politics and prejudice? Nope. It’s about ideology!
Polls and Prejudice


... Read more »

  • May 15, 2013
  • 07:02 AM
  • 820 views

Shooting the messenger: The intergroup sensitivity effect

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We have likely all heard the saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”. According to new research, we are more likely to shoot that unlucky messenger when they are an outgroup rather than ingroup member. While that makes sense (sort of) it’s an intriguing article. And  likely a depressing article for those who would like to promote [...]

Related posts:
The “hoodie effect”: A domestic variant of the turban effect
The hypercorrection effect: Correcting misinformation and false belie........ Read more »

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