The Jury Room

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466 posts · 339,698 views

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
231 posts

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  • January 26, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 19 views

His brain made him do it” and so I feel much less empathy for him 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about the brain based defenses a lot here. And here’s an article that may shed light on how the presentation of neural defenses could backfire on defense attorneys. First, let’s look at the research. The researchers wondered how the biological explanation of mental illness might affect the empathy of mental health clinicians toward […]

Related posts:
Which jurors most “feel” your client’s pain?
Empathy: Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intenti........ Read more »

Lebowitz MS, & Ahn WK. (2014) Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians' empathy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(50), 17786-90. PMID: 25453068  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 09:36 AM
  • 82 views

Then and now: Beepers versus iPhones  [and separation anxiety]

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Back in the early ‘90s, I had a job that required me to carry a beeper. The constant awareness that I was “on call” was a source of strain and led me to complain I was never really “off duty”. Flash forward to this century and I cannot imagine being without my smart phone. In […]

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Head versus heart: Why it makes a difference
Does wondering about co-worker sexual preference impair concentration?
Be careful what you text!


... Read more »

  • January 16, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 81 views

Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It is no secret that we are intrigued by conspiracy theorists here at The Jury Room. Not only are they good for entertainment value during pretrial research, they are also very useful to help us plug holes in case narrative that could derail deliberations. When it comes to the actual trial though, conspiracy enthusiasts are […]

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“Stop picking fights and get some emotional intelligence!”
Conspiracy theorists and survey design
Conspiracy theories that haven’t come up i........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 88 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: When minority jurors  are not so good for your client

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s an odd counter-intuitive research finding. You might think that, if you have a gay or lesbian client, other minorities (like racial or ethnic minorities, for example) would be a good bet for your jury. It only makes sense that those who have experienced discrimination themselves would be more tolerant toward members of other oppressed […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t deplete me
Simple Jury Persuasion: She reminds me of my Grandmother…
Simple Jury Persuasion:........ Read more »

  • January 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 31 views

Solution aversion: Denying problems when we don’t like the solutions

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Almost three years ago, we blogged about something called the extremist effect. The extremist effect is a strategy of taking something virtuous and turning it into a vice through clever language. For example: You are a snowmobiling association being sued by environmental groups to block access to public lands. You diminish their position by saying, “Sporting […]

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“Reactions vary along traditional partisan lines”
Excuse me potential juror: Is your brain red or........ Read more »

Campbell TH, & Kay AC. (2014) Solution aversion: On the relation between ideology and motivated disbelief. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(5), 809-24. PMID: 25347128  

  • January 5, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 124 views

“Who are these people who understand this brain science thing?”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

If you think neurolaw and neuroscience are everywhere–and don’t find it particularly challenging to talk about brain science, apparently you are living in a very rarified environment. It’s hard to believe but evidently, most people do not think the exploding field of brain science is fascinating! Instead, when they think of brain science they think […]

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What do those jurors really know about science and technology?
A new question for the jury: Did my brain implant........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 148 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: You are loved and cared for

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, today is the last day to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Is this perhaps the anti-reptile theory? We don’t know, but it is potentially a powerful stealth weapon for cases where your opponent is attempting […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: In the face of ambiguity, we just make stuff up!
Simple Jury Persuasion: “That was the witness who spoke so sadly”
Simp........ Read more »

  • December 17, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 118 views

Same sex marriage is okay but please, no PDA!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita We’ve blogged a number of times about changing attitudes toward same sex marriage.  […]

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So how okay are we really with gay marriage?
Changing American Attitudes: Gay/Lesbian Issues
So we cannot talk about race but we overwhelmingly approve interracial marr........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 148 views

Are you a murdered white female? Here is some small comfort!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita If you are a murdered white female, your case will be investigated and […]

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Does your capital client “look deathworthy”?
Does the Prosecution want African-American jurors for the Trayvon Martin case?
Bev Kearney: Is it because I’m female, African-America........ Read more »

Pierce, G., Radelet, M., Posick, C., & Lyman, T. (2014) Race and the Construction of Evidence in Homicide Cases. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(4), 771-786. DOI: 10.1007/s12103-014-9259-1  

  • December 12, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 139 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Gender and message delivery and framing

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita Trial lawyers (and others who communicate to persuade) are always looking for a […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Are those folks in the jury box thinkers or feelers?
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Powerful in the Courtroom
Simple Jury Persuasion: Should we channel Do........ Read more »

  • December 3, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 149 views

Subtly offending feedback [when in court presentation offends]

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita The research we are covering today focuses on feedback that is subtly offensive […]

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Expert witnesses on what causes bias in other expert witnesses
Chicago attorney explains to Court: “Personally, I like large breasts.”
Maybe you really should use Pow........ Read more »

Krings, R., Jacobshagen, N., Elfering, A., & Semmer, N. (2014) Subtly offending feedback. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12287  

  • December 1, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 127 views

The prospective moral licensing effect: “I can be bad now because I’m sure I will be good in the future!”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita We’ve written before about moral licensing–it’s the cognitive process we use to say “I’m […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Anger + Disgust = Moral Outrage
What’s a moral issue for us these days?
Which is the more moral negotiator? The male or the f........ Read more »

  • November 24, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 173 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 […]

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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
  • 196 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 […]

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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
  • 179 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 […]

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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
  • 177 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
  • 223 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
  • 148 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
  • 163 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 […]

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“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
  • 195 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 […]

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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  

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