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
277 posts

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  • January 29, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 129 views

When terrified, liberals end up thinking a lot more like  conservatives

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It’s a basic tenet of the reptile theory that you want to frighten your jurors to make them vote for your client in deliberation. [The ABA has put out an open-access primer on the reptile theory and you can see that here.] It is also been shown repeatedly that conservatives are more fearful than liberals, […]

Related posts:
The evidence is mounting: The brains of liberals and conservatives differ
Are conservatives happier than liberals? Research says:  No.
Mean-spirited blog comments........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 131 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Why do people fall for what seems profound but is really nonsensical? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We think these authors are trying to be amusing but they are very, very serious about their work and have even attracted the attention of someone they target in their article (Deepak Chopra). Essentially the authors focus on who falls prey to “profound pseudo-bullshit” and why. And that, is an important thing for us to […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simple Jury Persuasion: “It makes no difference to me but I’m sure it would to a lot o........ Read more »

Pennycook, G, Cheyne, JA, Barr, N, Koehler, DJ, & Fugelsang, JA. (2015) On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, 10(6), 549-563. DOI: 10.3410/f.725974620.793511899  

  • January 25, 2016
  • 11:55 AM
  • 97 views

Want to be a leader? Maybe you should grow a  mustache…

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re unsure if this strategy would work for women but it seems to work for men—at least in medical schools and teaching hospitals. We do presume those male leaders with mustaches do not have the sort of mustache illustrating this post but what do we know? We also tend to believe that if a woman […]

Related posts:
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
Gender and Leadership: When Do Women Excel?
Now, that’s a good-looking leader! (At  least, in this group.)


... Read more »

  • January 14, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 90 views

Mom in prison? You are at risk for going too… 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

While idealistically we might want to think people whose mom is (or was) in prison would view their Mom’s plight as a cautionary tale, and be less likely to go to prison themselves, a new study shows that “children of incarcerated mothers are twice as likely to be arrested, convicted and incarcerated as adults”. The […]

Related posts:
Would you rather go to jail or prison? 
Go to jail. Go directly to jail. And if you are a woman, stay there a lot longer.
Even kids don’t make pa........ Read more »

  • January 4, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 181 views

Four (new) ways to identify a liar…. 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve tracked the literature on deception detection for some time now and so were glad to see recent multiple new entries in the pursuit of identifying liars. Rather than blogging about these strategies one at a time, here’s a combined entry to let you know about them all in a single post. Are children good […]

Related posts:
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
“Everyday liars” and “Prolific liars”
Do great liars know how to tell if you’re lying to them? (Yes, they ........ Read more »

Fenn, E., Blandón-Gitlin, I., Coons, J., Pineda, C., & Echon, R. (2015) The inhibitory spillover effect: Controlling the bladder makes better liars. Consciousness and Cognition, 112-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.09.003  

  • December 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 198 views

Here’s an updated version of the meteorologists ‘Santa Tracker’

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re taking a break until 2016 so we’ll see you in January! Most of us grew up watching the weather report on TV and seeing a NORAD ‘Santa Tracker’ showing where Santa and his sleigh were on their way for a long night of work. But this is 2015 and if you celebrate the holiday, […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
fMRIs and Persuasion: Did anyone tell the jurors?
A new neurolaw caveat to minimize punishmen........ Read more »

Hougaard A, Lindberg U, Arngrim N, Larsson HB, Olesen J, Amin FM, Ashina M, & Haddock BT. (2015) Evidence of a Christmas spirit network in the brain: functional MRI study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 26676562  

  • December 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 248 views

Reducing racial prejudice in just seven minutes 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This is a very different strategy for quickly reducing racial prejudice than past research has examined. This one involves the Buddhist practice called a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) which involves focusing on a specific individual and repeating phrases like “may you be happy and healthy”. Researchers wanted to see if practicing a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) would […]

Related posts:
Is racial bias fueling anti-Obama rhetoric?
Seeing and Believing and Reducing Prejudice
Ten ........ Read more »

  • December 21, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 307 views

Tattoos as a restorative act (for college-aged women anyway) 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We write a lot about tattoos here—perhaps because we have Millennial aged kids and at least half of them have tattoos.  Okay, more than half. The meaning of tattoos has changed over the years and there seems little stigma still associated with them any longer. The authors of new research on college students (2,394 of […]

Related posts:
Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons
The new bumper sticker? Tattoos in the courtroom
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they n........ Read more »

Koch, J., Roberts, A., Armstrong, M., & Owen, D. (2015) Tattoos, gender, and well-being among American college students. The Social Science Journal, 52(4), 536-541. DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2015.08.001  

  • December 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 330 views

The Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale and how much you really  use your smartphone

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us don’t know how much we rely on smartphone use and this is likely a very important piece of information to help us understand why it’s so very hard for many jurors to stay away from their phones while serving jury duty. While only a small study (29 participants between the ages of […]

Related posts:
The NoMoPhobia Scale (NMP-Q): What  happens when you are without your smartphone
More than half of your potential jurors have  smartphones now
Stop looking at your smartphone........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2015
  • 12:02 PM
  • 291 views

Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here it is, our last 2015 collection of things you may find intriguing to know (or not) that we found in our travels but to which we do not choose to devote an entire post. For the most part, these tidbits are based in scientific research and have helped some academic somewhere to obtain tenure. […]

Related posts:
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 
Tattoos: When should you clean up your witness?
“Glasses can’t hide neck tattoos”


... Read more »

  • November 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 220 views

Will your genetic defense for that violent crime backfire? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The growing body of research on genetic variations and their relation to crime may leave you uncertain about how to best defend your client charged with a violent crime. Do you encourage jurors to support an insanity defense by using a genetic defense or does that route backfire and leave jurors seeing your client as […]

Related posts:
Teaching people about neuroscience can make them softer on crime!
The “Nerd Defense”: Redux
Automatism and the Ambien Defense


... Read more »

  • November 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 264 views

Guilt-proneness and the ability to recognize the emotions of  others

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Three years ago we wrote about the goodness of fit for the guilt-prone with the presiding juror position. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, there were a number of reasons supporting them in that role. And today, new research gives us another reason the guilt-prone may be more skilled at leadership—they are more able to identify […]

Related posts:
The GASP scale: A new measure of guilt and shame proneness
Should you want guilt-prone leaders for that jury?
Do we want convicted felons to........ Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 176 views

Why do people prefer food in sexist packaging? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

According to a new study in the journal Social Psychology, it’s because we are willing to pay more for less healthy food in macho packaging or healthier food in pretty feminine packaging. You may protest at being stereotyped in this way but, apparently it works (or food package designers wouldn’t do it) because it’s just […]

Related posts:
News Flash: Gay people are different than straight people
Republicans prefer ‘Republican-looking’ political candidates
Men prefer boxes and........ Read more »

Zhu, L., Brescoll, V., Newman, G., & Uhlmann, E. (2015) Macho Nachos. Social Psychology, 46(4), 182-196. DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000226  

  • November 18, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 255 views

The Motivation to Express Prejudice Scale 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We hear a lot more these days about covert or “modern prejudice” than we do about plain old overt prejudice. So it’s a little surprising to see this measure but it makes sense. There are some people who do want to express prejudice and here is a scale you can use to measure their wishes […]

Related posts:
Detecting Deception Using the Law of Sufficient Motivation
The Bias Awareness Scale 
The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale 


... Read more »

Forscher PS, Cox WT, Graetz N, & Devine PG. (2015) The motivation to express prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(5), 791-812. PMID: 26479365  

  • November 13, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 338 views

Things You Want to Know: Stereotypes, biases,  defensiveness, and when work strikes awfully close to home

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This is a conglomeration of articles we thought were interesting and useful but chose not to devote an entire post describing them. Think of this as a series of articles that might pique your interest and make you want to learn more. We’ll provide links so it’s easy to learn more. Christians and Science: A […]

Related posts:
Cognitive Biases: A pictorial primer 
Do Whites, Blacks, and Asians have different  biases than Biracial adults?
Have you seen our latest work in The Jury Exp........ Read more »

Phillips, LT, & Lowery, BS. (2015) The hard-knock life? Whites claim hardship in response to racial inequity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12-18. info:/

  • November 11, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 221 views

Do you make choices as to whom you  leave waiting in the crosswalk? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Apparently yes, at least according to today’s researchers. And you likely will be somewhat taken aback by just which group you choose to make wait. Researchers wanted to study whether the pedestrian’s race had anything to do with yielding behavior of motorists at crosswalks. They tested with 173 motorists and 6 trained male pedestrian-confederates (3 […]

Related posts:
Do Whites, Blacks, and Asians have different  biases than Biracial adults?
Are you a White American? How Black is y........ Read more »

Goddard, T., Kahn, K., & Adkins, A. (2015) Racial bias in driver yielding behavior at crosswalks. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2015.06.002  

  • November 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 241 views

The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You likely know we love a good conspiracy theorist here. For entertainment value it adds a lot to an otherwise dull story. In fact, one of our favorite blog-moments was when a conspiracy theorist left a raging comment for us regarding a post that questioned the existence of Big Foot. We’ve posted a few scales […]

Related posts:
Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty
Is there an effective strategy that reduces a conspiracy  theorist’s intense beliefs?
Measuring........ Read more »

  • November 4, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 218 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: ‘Black’-sounding name makes  people think bigger and more dangerous

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Who’s scarier? Connor or Jamal? Or consider these names and think of who’s scarier: Wyatt or DeShawn? Raven-Symone recently got into trouble on the television show The View for saying she would not hire someone with a “ghetto name” (“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea”). We blogged about this issue […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: “It makes no difference to me but I’m sure it would to a lot of other people.”
Simple Jury Persuasion: ........ Read more »

  • November 2, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 297 views

Here’s why that movie wasn’t called ’12 Angry Women’ 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Well, okay—part of why it was not called ’12 Angry Women’ is because at the time the movie was made (1957), in most venues women were not permitted to serve on juries. But the research we’re featuring today says that even while on jury duty, it’s hard to be a woman. Today’s researchers had 210 […]

Related posts:
Women as Expert Witnesses: The good, the sad, and the ugly
“It was ‘a man’s work’ and I just didn’t like working with those incompetent women….”
Sh........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 305 views

Fracking and pregnancy issues (prematurity and high risk pregnancies) 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Risks associated with fracking have been inconsistently documented with the EPA concluding in June 2015 that fracking does not always harm water supplies. “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found […]

Related posts:
Hydro-fracking and the Environment
Motherhood and Employment: Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Negotiat........ Read more »

Casey JA, Savitz DA, Rasmussen SG, Ogburn EL, Pollak J, Mercer DG, & Schwartz BS. (2015) Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). PMID: 26426945  

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