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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
225 posts

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  • November 24, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 10 views

Thin-slicing infidelity: Brief observation can reveal more than you ever thought!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Our clients are routinely stunned by the accuracy of  mock juror impressions of witnesses and parties based on a 6 to 8 minute video clip from depositions. Mock jurors quickly assess character and are often eager to share their insights. Their comments can be insightful, surprising, and sometimes biting in their judgments. So, okay. It’s […]

Related posts:
Unfaithful partner? Would you rather be seen as mature– or as competent and strong?
A law firm’s financial success & the ........ Read more »

  • November 21, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 59 views

The “euphemism treadmill”: Is it African-American or Black?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s a constantly moving target. Just over a year ago, we wrote about this on-going question and cited a Gallup Poll saying 65% of Black Americans have no preference when it comes to labels used to describe their racial or ethnic group. The authors of today’s research article would disagree. They say there are consequences […]

Related posts:
Should we say Black or African-American? Latino or Hispanic?
Everyday racism: A comparison of African American and Asian American Women
Are you........ Read more »

Hall, EV, Phillips, KW, & Townsend, SSM. (2014) A rose by any other name? The consequences of subtyping “African-Americans” from “Blacks”. . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. . info:/

  • November 12, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 71 views

Non-citizen? Undocumented? Watch out for jury sentencing!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You are likely familiar with the fact that African-Americans and Hispanics often receive harsher sentences than do White defendants. So where do you think the undocumented immigrant or non-citizen would fall in that lineup? The undocumented receive the harshest sentences and non-citizens (who are in the country legally) come in second. Why? The authors of […]

Related posts:
Are they “illegal aliens” or “undocumented workers”?
Go to jail. Go directly to jail. And if you are a woma........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 71 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: The “halo of scientific validity” effect

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written about the lack of evidence for the much-feared “CSI Effect”. But here’s an interesting study about the simple “appearance of science” as opposed to the bells and whistles of high-tech “CSI”-like evidence. All it takes is the use of “scientese” (scientific sounding words)–not to be confused with “lawyerese” (which we wrote about here […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Educating jurors about science may have no effect
Simple Jury Persuasi........ Read more »

  • November 7, 2014
  • 09:01 AM
  • 110 views

You can tell a lot from looking at someone’s face…

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Our mock jurors (and many others as well) tend to believe the eyes are the “window to the soul” and that by simply looking at the eyes of another, they can intuit truthfulness and character. But it can be even easier! Just look at the face and you can actually assess introversion/extroversion, competence/incompetence, dominance/submission, and […]

Related posts:
I can tell from your face that you are suicidal
Never trust a man with a wide face
Wearing your religion on your face


... Read more »

Olivola, C., Funk, F., & Todorov, A. (2014) Social attributions from faces bias human choices. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(11), 566-570. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.09.007  

  • November 5, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 51 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: The “not in my town!” effect

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

A couple of years ago we were working for the Plaintiff on pretrial research for a case against a large national healthcare corporation. The Plaintiff had been injured quite dramatically due to what she alleged was the Defendant’s lack of care (i.e., negligence) in selling her what company executives knew to be a pharmaceutical product […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: The ‘Scott Peterson Effect’—Displayed remorse and conviction
Simple Jury Persuasion: The innuendo effec........ Read more »

  • November 3, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 82 views

Do you smell red or blue? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This post might well fall into the category of “the route to tenure-track publication credits is not always the high road”. We discard lots of dicey research reports (such as this one) because they add nothing to our goal of improving litigation advocacy. But this one was so weird we found it amusing. Enjoy. But […]

Related posts:
“Unpleasant body odor” and people’s desire to help you
Excuse me potential juror: Is your brain red or blue?
Things You Should (Maybe) Know…
........ Read more »

McDermott, R., Tingley, D., & Hatemi, P. (2014) Assortative Mating on Ideology Could Operate Through Olfactory Cues. American Journal of Political Science, 58(4), 997-1005. DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12133  

  • October 31, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 103 views

Male? Don’t watch comedy videos prior to trial presentations…

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Many have written about men being over-confident in comparison to women–although all of us may be more confident in our abilities than we generally should be. Prior research has shown us that men are more confident than women, and that happy people tend to view themselves more positively and happy people actually often perform better […]

Related posts:
So, potential juror, how much online porn do you watch?
Male body shame and aggression against women (“rape proclivity”........ Read more »

Ifcher, J., & Zarghamee, H. (2014) Affect and overconfidence: A laboratory investigation. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 7(3), 125-150. DOI: 10.1037/npe0000022  

  • October 29, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 63 views

Is that eye witness lying? Let’s just check those P300 brain waves…

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written before about the inaccuracy of eye witness testimony despite the familiarity of the saying, “I know what I saw!”. But here is newly published research purporting to have been “able to discriminate perfectly between 12 knowledgeable subjects who viewed stimuli related to their activities and 12 non-knowledgeable subjects who viewed only irrelevant items”. […]

Related posts:
“That witness is lying and I can prove it”
Brain Porn? That is so 2008. Neuro-skepticism........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 110 views

So, potential juror, how much online porn do you watch?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We can hear the snickers and gasps now–and likely the immediate objection from (probably) the opposing counsel or (unquestionably) the judge. But not always. So why might this be something you want to know? According to new research in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, a distinguishing characteristic of narcissists is that they watch […]

Related posts:
An update on online research of potential jurors
Excuse me potential juror: Is your brain red or blue?
Excuse me, potential ........ Read more »

Kasper TE, Short MB, & Milam AC. (2014) Narcissism and Internet Pornography Use. Journal of Sex , 1-6. PMID: 24918657  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 140 views

Morality in everyday life for the religious and the nonreligious

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

The researchers recruited a sample of 1,252 adults ranging in age from 18 to 68 years of age who reside in the US and Canada. Each participant completed measures of religiosity and political ideation prior to participation in the actual study. All participants had smartphones and were randomly signaled on their phone for 3 days […]

Related posts:
Should I choose the creative juror, the introvert/extravert, or the religious juror?
“Everyday liars” and “Prolific liarsR........ Read more »

Hofmann W, Wisneski DC, Brandt MJ, & Skitka LJ. (2014) Morality in everyday life. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6202), 1340-3. PMID: 25214626  

  • October 1, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 154 views

Admissibility of brain scans in criminal trials

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s been a while since we’ve done an update on neurolaw issues and we think you’ll want to read the entire article upon which this post is based. The article is published in Court Review: Journal of the American Judges Association (which is probably a journal you would benefit from perusing regularly). The article (authored […]

Related posts:
Confused about brain scans? Welcome to the club!
On brains, brain damage, pedophilia and other things we don’t like
Defending the Psychop........ Read more »

Rushing, SE. (2014) The admissibility of brain scans in criminal trials: The case of positron emission tomography. . Court Review, 50(2). info:/

  • September 29, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 134 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Should you consider 3-D for your courtroom videos?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Evidence admissibility issues aside, the answer is, “only if you can do it as well as they did in the 3D movie Polar Express”. As it turns out, 3D isn’t that much more impactful than 2D unless it’s done really, really well. Psychologists and neuroscientists studying emotion often use film clips for their research. So […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: When videos are too persuasive…
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Powerful in the Courtroom
Simple Jury Persuasion: Is tha........ Read more »

Bride DL, Crowell SE, Baucom BR, Kaufman EA, O'Connor CG, Skidmore CR, & Yaptangco M. (2014) Testing the Effectiveness of 3D Film for Laboratory-Based Studies of Emotion. PLoS ONE, 9(8). PMID: 25170878  

  • September 26, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 162 views

Would you prefer a smaller government? Actually, no you would not. 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

For a number of years now, we have been asking our mock jurors what role they think government should play in our society and giving them a number of options among which to choose. Most of them say government should play a smaller role and we certainly have all heard the media messages that tell us […]

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“Just about always” and “Never” responses to trusting the federal government
Men prefer boxes and women prefer ellipses?
You might be a conservative if…you p........ Read more »

  • September 24, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 207 views

Unfaithful partner? Would you rather be seen as mature– or as competent and strong?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

According to new research, you can’t have both. Inspired by women who told them they “would not vote for Hillary Clinton [in the Presidential primaries a decade later] because she forgave then-President Bill Clinton’s infidelity”, these researchers looked at how male and female observers viewed male and female victims of infidelity based on how they […]

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How leaders look: Competent and trustworthy, but not dominant
Is it best to be competent, warm, or moral?
You wa........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 118 views

It’s 2014: Where are all the female subjects in surgical research?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

More than two decades after the 1993 Revitalization Act was signed (stating women and minorities must be included in NIH funded research), females are still under-represented in both “basic science and translational surgical research”. The authors acknowledge that medical research on human subjects is only a small subset of all medical research. However, even those […]

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Female bosses can lower a man’s pay & prestige
Should you ask your overweight female client to........ Read more »

Yoon DY, Mansukhani NA, Stubbs VC, Helenowski IB, Woodruff TK, & Kibbe MR. (2014) Sex bias exists in basic science and translational surgical research. Surgery, 156(3), 508-516. PMID: 25175501  

  • September 17, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 125 views

The Disgust Scale: How have we missed this all this time?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve covered a lot of the disgust research so it is curious to us that somehow we missed sharing the actual Disgust Scale with you earlier. The Disgust Scale was developed by the infamous Jonathan Haidt (his surname is pronounced “height”) back in 1994 before disgust was considered cool. In brief, the Disgust Scale was […]

Related posts:
Disgust and lost confidence in our institutions
Simple Jury Persuasion: Anger + Disgust = Moral Outrage
Choosing to either disgust your jurors o........ Read more »

Olatunji, B. O., Haidt, J., McKay, D., David, B. (2008) Core, animal reminder, and contamination disgust: Three kinds of disgust with distinct personality, behavioral, physiological, and clinical correlates. Journal of Research in Personality, 1243-1259. info:/

  • September 15, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 144 views

“Smart people ask for (my) advice!”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We are often wary of asking for advice for fear of looking dumb or appearing incompetent. Oddly enough, our fears may be unfounded based on some new research out of Harvard Business School. According to the researchers, asking for advice does not make you appear either dumb or incompetent. Instead, asking for advice makes you […]

Related posts:
News Flash: Gay people are different than straight people
Name that gadget, widget, or otherwise smart device!
When you wear glasses you are les........ Read more »

Brooks, AW, Gino, F, & Schweitzer, ME. (2014) Smart people ask for (my) advice: Seeking advice boosts perceptions of competence. . Harvard Business School Working Papers. info:/

  • September 8, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 247 views

Does Face-to-Face Interaction Promote Honesty?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I listen to a lot of audiobooks while traveling. But sometimes I want something less lengthy than a full book and so I turn to podcasts. Recently, I was on a plane and turned on an episode of the NPR TED Radio Hour podcast on Why We Lie. It’s an interesting and wide-ranging look at […]

Related posts:
Never trust a man with a wide face
I can tell from your face that you are suicidal
A law firm’s financial success & the managing partners’ face


... Read more »

  • September 3, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 175 views

“S/he is just not one of us…”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Just over a year ago, The Jury Expert published an article on bias and ambiguity in times of economic stress. The article was titled Does This Recession Make Me Look Black? –and it focused on how White Americans see racially ambiguous appearing others as in-group members until times are tough and then we see them […]

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Excuse me while I slip into something more Caucasian
Is there a relationship between age and ethnic prejudice?
Nice guys really do finish last! (Or at ........ Read more »

Kteily, N, Cotterill, S, Sidanius, J, Sheehy-Skeffington, J, & Bergh, R. (2014) “Not one of us”: Predictors and consequences of denying in-group characteristics to ambiguous targets. . Personality . info:/

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