The Jury Room

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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
328 posts

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  • January 23, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 980 views

Republicans prefer ‘Republican-looking’ political candidates

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

As I consider the Republican Presidential candidate lineup, I can’t figure out just how a ‘Republican-looking’ candidate might look. Is it the patrician and reserved Mitt Romney? The disgruntled Newt Gingrich? The intense and dry humored conservative Ron Paul? The GQ-ready Rick Perry? Or someone else? I’m not sure what a Republican looks like.  Or [...]
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Men prefer boxes and women prefer ellipses?
A screwdriver: The new addition to your trial toolbox? (We think not.)
̶........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,259 views

“Psychologically, men and women are almost a different species”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Someone should give researchers a list of what sorts of things not to say when describing their research. Whether it’s “this may help explain everything from unrequited love to the uprisings of the Arab Spring!” or “men and women are almost a different species”–it’s just unwise. You can be proud of your research without absurd hyperbole. [...]
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Men prefer boxes and women prefer ellipses?
Who knew we’d be such grumpy (but NOT old!) men and women?
New research on........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,351 views

Does itemizing impairment increase damage awards in civil cases?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

When we do civil pretrial research, there is generally a mock jury charge (jury questions). Sometimes the jury charge is simple and brief–liability and damages. Other times, the jury charge is lengthy and every possible form of damages is itemized. It’s done because the attorneys know what these researchers have apparently just identified: more discreet [...]
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It’s good to feel good: Guilty verdicts in seven 40-year-old civil rights trials
“Money won’t bring that love........ Read more »

  • January 16, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 925 views

“Money won’t bring that loved one back…”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We hear this routinely in pretrial research as mock jurors explain why they won’t award for non-economic damages. Variations include “no one paid me for my grief when my mother died” or “I don’t see a need to make the survivors millionaires”. The idea of family members profiting from a death is simply heinous to [...]
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2010 in review: Aging brains, money, happiness, and a bris exception
Does your capital client “look deathworthy”?
... Read more »

Hulst, L., & Akkermans, AJ. (2012) Can money symbolize acknowledgement? How victims’ relatives perceive monetary rewards for their emotional harm. . Psychological Injury and Law. info:/

  • January 13, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,017 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: The “extremist effect”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us are familiar with the strategy of destroying a reputation with a barrage of nastiness. We all bemoan the ‘negative campaigning’ that is ramping up in this election year. But the problem is–it works. That is, “if you throw enough mud against the wall, something sticks”. And as it turns out, it doesn’t [...]
Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: The innuendo effect
Simple Jury Persuasion: The ‘attitude alignment’ effect & persuasion
Simple Jury Persuasion: The ‘w........ Read more »

Nelson, T., Gwiasda, G., & Lyons, J. (2011) Vilification and Values. Political Psychology, 32(5), 813-835. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2011.00844.x  

  • January 11, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 968 views

Negotiations: Starting high and ending with nothing

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

In October of 2011, we wrote a blog post on negotiating your salary. That post was based on research advising the negotiator to start “high”. At the time we cautioned against applying this wisdom since it was only one study. Sometimes we are prescient!  Or in this case, we were appropriately cautious/skeptical. New research says you [...]
Related posts:
Anchoring effects and your salary negotiations
Don’t ruin the ending for me!
Can reading a story make you a vampire?
... Read more »

Schweinsberg, M., Ku, G., Wang, C., & Pillutla, M. (2012) Starting high and ending with nothing: The role of anchors and power in negotiations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 226-231. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2011.07.005  

  • January 9, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,232 views

When are jurors more apt to blame the ‘rogue employee’ than the corporation?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This past year, we’ve been intrigued several times to have mock jurors give large corporations a pass and instead place blame on individual employees. While they, in every case, understood that corporations are responsible for the behavior of their employees, they wanted to make it clear they did not blame the company. In a sense, [...]
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If your jurors are happy, will they blame the victim less?
Life lessons from mock jurors: Look before you sit & always read the fine print
........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,224 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Activate their values

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The first entry in our Simple Jury Persuasion series was titled “There is no such thing as persuasion”. The thesis was that you should craft your story to fit the jurors–rather than trying to pull them in your direction. It’s more than two years (and a lot of posts) later and we still know it to [...]
Related posts:
On Hispanic Jurors: Religiosity and Values
Core values for Americans: What we say but what we do?
Simple Jury Persuasion: Got charisma?
... Read more »

Blankenship, K., & Wegener, D. (2011) Value Activation and Processing of Persuasive Messages. Social Psychological and Personality Science. DOI: 10.1177/1948550611424084  

  • January 4, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,409 views

Feel the power of that deep and resonant voice!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Remember our Simple Jury Persuasion post on channeling James Earl Jones? Well, here’s another good reason to use a deep and resonant voice! And (of course) it’s backed up by research published in a peer reviewed journal. As you may recall, earlier research found that women are particularly prone to remember information given to them in [...]
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A long tall Texan (and an auto repair shop tale)
... Read more »

  • January 2, 2012
  • 08:02 AM
  • 2,302 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 [...]
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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 28, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,256 views

R-rated pronouns and adjectives?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

I never heard of the ‘secret life of pronouns’ nor the “dark side of adjectives” when I was growing up. Pronouns and adjectives were staid and predictable parts of speech that I struggled to make sense of in order to diagram sentences in [totally useless] homework assignments. Now, however, we have pronouns revealing hidden meanings and manipulations. [...]
No related posts.... Read more »

Pennebaker, J. (2011) The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us. . Bloomsbury Press. info:/

  • December 26, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,191 views

Bitterness, broken hearts, bigots and butchery

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. (Wait! Is that Tammy Wynette I hear?) In our efforts to keep you abreast of the challenges experienced by your female jurors, colleagues, friends, family and clients–here is the latest installment of our intermittent posting on how it can be hard to be a woman. We read about honor [...]
No related posts.... Read more »

  • December 23, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 859 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: The innuendo effect

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

“I know that’s what he said, but this is what he really meant…!” From early sibling conflicts and on into adulthood, we know the power of innuendo. Now we have academic research findings that corroborate that childhood experience (especially for women). Researchers were curious about how hearing only positive information might still be construed negatively by [...]
No related posts.... Read more »

Kervyn, N., Bergsieker, H., & Fiske, S. (2012) The innuendo effect: Hearing the positive but inferring the negative. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 77-85. info:/

  • December 21, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,103 views

If your jurors are happy, will they blame the victim less?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This is research that flies in the face of the common wisdom that angry jurors award more damages. It is a long-standing tenet of the research literature that when bad things happen to good people we tend to paradoxically blame the victim. It helps us feel safer to believe the harmed party “must have” done [...]
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A long tall Texan (and an auto repair shop tale)
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Goldenberg, L., & Forgas, J. (2012) Can happy mood reduce the just world bias? Affective influences on blaming the victim. . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 239-243. info:/

  • December 19, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,166 views

Don’t confuse me with your ethnicity!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We dislike ambiguity. And most of us don’t like to have to think very hard, either. We’ve written about this as it relates to foreign accents or heavy regional accents with which we are unfamiliar. When we have to work to understand, we assume the speaker is not being truthful. The problem isn’t about us, apparently–it’s [...]
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Excuse me while I slip into something more Caucasian
Can you see me now? Different races & familiar places
Derogating do-gooders [like v........ Read more »

Chen, J., & Hamilton, D. (2012) Natural ambiguities: Racial categorization of multiracial individuals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 152-164. info:/

  • December 16, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 5,206 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 14, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 5,800 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 12, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 4,714 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  

  • December 7, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 1,193 views

Expert witness influence: Interrogation tactics and false confessions

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The public does not believe the innocent falsely confess even in the face of coercive interrogation tactics. And research shows us that once we have a false confession–a domino effect can occur that results in increasing numbers of evidence errors and sometimes, wrongful convictions. Once a confession is given, under any circumstance or for any reason, jurors [...]

Related posts:What I should have said was nothing: The disaster of a false confession

What happens when a juror ag........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2011
  • 08:02 AM
  • 945 views

Lutherans revisited: Did we dismiss Darrow too soon?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Remember Clarence Darrow’s wonderful essay on how to pick a jury? He covers almost every possible stereotype–including religion–in a thorough essay that was then ground-breaking and now a reflection of the wide-reaching stereotypes we attempt to avoid. [A sample from his essay is below with a link to the entire essay.] “Beware of the Lutherans, especially [...]

Related posts:The Jury Room: A new blawg

So help me God

Redux: Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman (........ Read more »

Li YJ, Johnson KA, Cohen AB, Williams MJ, Knowles ED, & Chen Z. (2011) Fundamental(ist) attribution error: Protestants are dispositionally focused. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. PMID: 22082060  

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