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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
326 posts

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  • January 7, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: On caffeine and speed

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’re reacting to two different PsyBlog posts at once because their posts have striking relevance to litigation strategy. As they continue their series on top forms of persuasion—they touch on caffeine and speech rate.  So. Let’s take a look at how these strategies apply to litigation advocacy, because (as we’ve seen with some advertising principles [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t confuse argument with persuasion
Simple Jury Persuasion: The tactics of effective sal........ Read more »

  • January 3, 2011
  • 07:04 AM

The secret life of fonts

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The new book, Typography for Lawyers, has been getting a lot of attention for encouraging more attractive font in legal communications. The book is getting rave reviews from attorneys who realize that part of persuasion is visual presentation. And we think Matthew Butterick (the author) is onto something. Perhaps he’s been reading social sciences research along [...]

Related posts:Secret Weapon: The Chairs in the Jury Box?
But they did it on purpose!
You’re not too old for a story (but yo........ Read more »

Juni S, & Gross JS. (2008) Emotional and persuasive perception of fonts. Perceptual and motor skills, 106(1), 35-42. PMID: 18459353  

  • December 31, 2010
  • 07:02 AM

2010 in review: Aging brains, money, happiness, and a bris exception

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

As trial consultants, we are always on the lookout for new nuggets of useful information. Some of them are true wisdom and some… let’s just say ‘not so much’. Generally, we share only the really good stuff with you but sometimes we regress a bit. And this is one of those times. Hang on! Despite [...]

Related posts:The Jury Expert for May 2010 is uploaded
Bummer! Our brains do decline with age…but there is good news
An uncivil union: Being ‘heard’
... Read more »

Gervais, S. J.,, Hillard, A. , & Vescio, T. K. (2010) Confronting sexism: The role of relationship orientation and gender. . Sex Roles, 463-474. info:/

Kraus MW, Côté S, & Keltner D. (2010) Social class, contextualism, and empathic accuracy. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(11), 1716-23. PMID: 20974714  

  • December 27, 2010
  • 07:02 AM

Mistrials due to lawyers making faces, internet misconduct & more

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Even though we have been hearing about (and writing about) jurors and the internet for a several years now—it was still something of a shock to see the ABA piece identifying 90 verdicts challenged due to jurors’ alleged internet misconduct. We wrote an article on Jurors and the Internet in The Jury Expert back in November [...]

Related posts:It’s not just jurors who are doing it
Educating Jurors: How NOT to start deliberations
Deliberations & the role of the presiding juror
... Read more »

CATHERINE C. ECKEL, ENRIQUE FATAS, & RICK WILSON. (2010) Cooperation and Status in Organizations. Journal of Public Economic Theory, 12(4). info:/

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Are those folks in the jury box thinkers or feelers?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a nice and very simple persuasion tactic first presented at PsyBlog in their ongoing series on 10 forms of persuasion. They cite the recent work of Nicole Mayer & Zakary Tormala (2010) and discuss the natural tendency we have to see the world (and thus describe it) via either thinking (useless or useful) or [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t co........ Read more »

Mayer ND, & Tormala ZL. (2010) "Think" versus "feel" framing effects in persuasion. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 36(4), 443-54. PMID: 20363901  

  • December 20, 2010
  • 07:02 AM

Women and true crime tales of rape, murder & serial killers

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I remember being fascinated by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.  And during my maternity leave after my first child was born, I watched most of the Jeffrey Dahmer trials on CNN aware of the irony inherent in rocking my sleeping newborn while tracking the testimony of Park Dietz.  So, naturally, when I saw the new [...]

Related posts:Men married to rich women are more likely to cheat
Keep your eye on this one: A Depravity Scale
New research on men: What do we know now?
... Read more »

  • December 17, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

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:/

  • December 15, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

The ‘artful dodge’: The danger of a smooth talker

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

In 1992, Sade sang ‘Smooth Operator’.  Almost two decades later we have research confirming that a smooth talker wins the day still. Put more bluntly—style trumps substance (particularly when that substance is delivered poorly). We say we want information, but really we want infotainment. Todd Rogers and Michael Norton (both at Harvard) showed participants different [...]

Related posts:Questions, rabbit trails and how to know when a bear is “disturbed”
When identifying punishment—........ Read more »

Rogers T, & Norton MI. (2010) People often trust eloquence more than honesty. Harvard business review, 88(11), 36-7. PMID: 21049679  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 06:07 AM

When cross-examination [of the expert witness] offends

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Your witnesses can make your case. They can also make your case a dog.  I was called several months ago to do witness preparation for trial on a commercial case that was, before our key witnesses flamed out in deposition, viewed as a mid-7 figure case.  After a dismal deposition performance, the plaintiff attorneys that [...]

Related posts:Overdoing it: Is there such a thing as too little anxiety in your witness?
“I didn’t know truth had a gender”
Tattoos: When should you clean up your........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Tilt your head. (no kidding)

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Evolutionary psychologists do some weird research. But we’re not holding that against them.  I mean, we’re talking about evolution.  Instead, we’ll take what they find and translate it for your use at trial. But this is odd! Australian researchers (Burke & Sulikowski, 2010) looked at tilting heads and attractiveness in the eyes of observers. What [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Powerful in the Courtroom
Simple Jury Persuasion: Got charisma?
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Darren Burke, & Danielle Sulikowski. (2010) A New Viewpoint on the Evolution of Sexually Dimorphic Human Faces. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(4). info:/

  • December 8, 2010
  • 07:01 AM

Overdoing it: Is there such a thing as too little anxiety in your witness?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Close your eyes. Think of a nervous witness you have had to prepare for trial. Beads of sweat on their upper lip. Nervous throat-clearing. Trembling hands. Shaky voice. Deer in the headlights expression. Testifying can be terrifying and we’ve all had the experience of attempting to take the edge off of the visible anxiety of [...]

Related posts:Preparing the Witness: Sometimes it’s easy (sometimes it’s not)

‘Lawyerese’ may work well in journals but not in the cour........ Read more »

Boccaccini, M., & Brodsky, S. (2002) Believability of expert and lay witnesses: Implications for trial consultation. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(4), 384-388. info:/

Tenney ER, MacCoun RJ, Spellman BA, & Hastie R. (2007) Calibration trumps confidence as a basis for witness credibility. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 18(1), 46-50. PMID: 17362377  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Using attraction to your advantage

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us are familiar with the old research saying attractive people get more, well, everything! And in a world that changes at dizzying speed, rest assured that this one remains as true as ever. A new study shows that we do judge a book by its cover “but a beautiful cover prompts a closer [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Use pre-factual thinking to your advantage in litigation
Simple Jury Persuasion: Using counter-factual thinking to your advantage
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Po........ Read more »

Ruffle, Bradley J., & Shtudiner, Ze'ev. (2010) Are Good-Looking People More Employable?. SSRN. info:/

  • December 1, 2010
  • 08:07 AM

Pollyanna’s are good lie detectors and other new deception findings

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know Pollyanna. It’s come to be a label we assign to describe people with optimistic outlooks. But it’s not just optimism. We also often assume gullibility and naïveté. New research from Canadian researchers shows us our stereotypes and assumptions may be quite in error. It turns out the those who tend toward the Pollyanna end [...]

Related posts:Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Quick trial tips: Blinking, babies and on the left!
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
... Read more »

Carter, N.L., & Weber, J.M. (2010) Not Pollyanna’s: Higher generalized trust predicts lie detection ability. . Social Psychological and Personality Science. info:/

  • November 26, 2010
  • 08:03 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s like that 1980’s shampoo commercial featuring Kelly LeBrock that seemed so silly.  “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…”. And decades later, we find that the sentiment is not only true, but we know it is true and we fear what will happen when others envy us! The research findings that we truly dislike the [...]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Turning weakness into strength
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van de Ven N, Zeelenberg M, & Pieters R. (2010) Warding Off the Evil Eye: When the Fear of Being Envied Increases Prosocial Behavior. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 20889930  

  • November 24, 2010
  • 08:02 AM

Maybe it really is better to apologize than to ask permission…

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

While we cannot all apologize as well as David Letterman, the importance of a good apology cannot be over-emphasized in the process of moving on from prior bad acts. We’ve written about apology in the context of litigation advocacy a number of times on this blog.  But now, two researchers have almost simultaneously come up with [...]

Related posts:Got morals?
“Aggression genes”, Asperger’s and Absolution (for criminal acts)
The Jury Expert for May 2010 is uploaded
... Read more »

Allen, R.J., & Laudan, L. (2010) The Devastating Impact of Prior Crimes Evidence – And Other Myths of the Criminal Justice Process. SSRN. info:/

  • November 19, 2010
  • 08:14 AM

Simple Jury Persusasion: Make them sad and they can’t be mad

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

An accepted truism is that a sad jury awards lower damages from a disempowered sense of hopelessness, and an angry jury awards higher to ‘send a message’. It is never good for the plaintiff when a case concludes with sad and hopeless jurors heading off to deliberate. You end up with “It’s horrible but it’s [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Winning Minds and Touching Hearts
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make an emotional connection with your jury
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  • November 17, 2010
  • 08:10 AM

Voir Dire Strategy: Who’s the Libertarian?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Concepts like authoritarianism have been studied intently for decades. But what about Libertarianism? We think we know about Libertarians from examining the writing of libertarian intellectuals and politicians—but that isn’t very scientific or reliable. Recently Iyer, Koleva, Graham, Ditto & Haidt (2010) published a paper that surveys the issues thoroughly.  Here we summarize a few [...]

Related posts:Voir Dire Strategy: Who’s the authoritarian?
Voir Dire Fundamentals: Look for tro........ Read more »

Iyer, R., Koleva, S.P., Graham, J., Ditto, P.H., & Haidt, J. (2010) Understanding Libertarian Morality: The psychological roots of an individualist ideology. SSRN. info:/

  • November 12, 2010
  • 08:10 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: If they say ‘No’, ask ‘why not’?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

PsyBlog continues their exploration of research on persuasion techniques and we will continue to monitor their posts and translate those relevant to the realm of litigation advocacy. [Their first post was on how "light" swearing makes you more persuasive. We figured you knew better than to try that one in court!] This time, they explore [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Channeling Cialdini & becoming a master of social influence
Simple Jury Persuasion: The Alpha Strategies
Simpl........ Read more »

  • November 5, 2010
  • 08:20 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Powerful in the Courtroom

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Much has been written about the “power suit” or the “power tie”. And we’ve written here about the power of wearing red for women and for men too!  So now you know how to dress. And yes, of course, there’s more. While you are power-suited up—you may also want to “strike a pose”.  Yup. Researchers [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Got charisma?
Simple Jury Persuasion: The dark side of psychological closeness
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Carney DR, Cuddy AJ, & Yap AJ. (2010) Power posing: brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(10), 1363-8. PMID: 20855902  

  • November 3, 2010
  • 08:20 AM

Seeing and Believing and Reducing Prejudice

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Mel Gibson certainly is not the only celebrity to rant racist statements while raving drunk. And we do have evidence that we are less able to censor ourselves when we are run-down and tired. So how (in brief) can you actually reduce prejudicial behavior? We’ve written a lot about race and racism here so it’s [...]

Related posts:Arkansas: If a judge calls you a ‘slut’ in open court, it doesn’t show prejudice
... Read more »

Stewart TL, Latu IM, Branscombe NR, & Denney HT. (2010) Yes We Can!: Prejudice Reduction Through Seeing (Inequality) and Believing (in Social Change). Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 20889931  

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