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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
294 posts

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  • June 20, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 82 views

Flushing toilets to sway legislators: Is it a true  delusion or just an “over-valued belief”?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I first heard the term “over-valued belief” back in the mid-1990’s when I worked in forensic rehabilitation with a man adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity. He had been very ill (psychotic) and very violent when unmedicated (and had killed more than once due to delusional beliefs) but had been in treatment and well-medicated […]

Related posts:
“Belief Perseverance”: Correcting false information without inadvertently reinforcing it
The better than average effect ........ Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • June 17, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 87 views

Will checking your DNA for ancestry information make you  more racist?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

In a word, maybe. Apparently, it all depends on whether your focus is on differences between you and others or similarities when it comes to genetic makeup. The researchers had Jewish and Arab participants read a new articles which (naturally) cited a scientific article reporting either high genetic similarities or high genetic differences between Jews […]

Related posts:
Can you identify racist jurors by asking if they watch local  TV news?
Racist roads not taken and prejudice-based agg........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 178 views

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS) 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We posted earlier this week about the new concept of “maladaptive daydreaming” and those researchers published a second article on an actual 14-item scale to assess whether a specific individual is a maladaptive daydreamer. Since it’s a strange area that may end up in the courtroom—we thought we’d share information and some of the items […]

Related posts:
The Motivation to Express Prejudice Scale 
The Dirty Dozen Scale 
The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Scale


... Read more »

Somer E, Lehrfeld J, Bigelsen J, & Jopp DS. (2016) Development and validation of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). Consciousness and Cognition, 77-91. PMID: 26707384  

  • June 13, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 151 views

Maladaptive daydreaming: The next legal defense theory? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Remember Walter Mitty? He was a fictional character who escaped his dull day-to-day existence by constructing elaborate daydreams wherein he was the hero rather than a wallflower. Well, apparently Walter was not so unusual. There are people who spend as much as 60% of their time lost in daydreams. These are people who realize their […]

Related posts:
Can you trust the results of forensic evaluations on legal sanity?
Legal decisions that tick jurors off
Will your genetic defense for that........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 162 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: “This is really about morality” 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a research finding that some might call a “silver bullet” for litigation advocacy. We are always looking for nuggets of wisdom in research findings and this is one we think makes a lot of sense for use in court. These researchers wanted to see if people could “be induced to view their own attitudes […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make them eat brussel sprouts
Simple Jury Persuasion: “Hey, look over here for a second!” 
Simple Jury Persuasion: You lookin’........ Read more »

Luttrell, A., Petty, R., Briñol, P., & Wagner, B. (2016) Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.04.003  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 99 views

Acetaminophen: Or why you have to read more than the  headlines when it comes to research

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

John Oliver recently took on mass media coverage of scientific findings on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. The result is a searing video mocking the distortions and misinterpretations (and even flat-out lies) about research findings as presented in mass media. Since his episode aired (a link to the video is at the end of […]

Related posts:
Reports of novel or contradictory health research reduces public trust  in science
Top 10 Most Read Posts During 2012!
Pew Research says 15% of Ame........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 201 views

The Earned Dogmatism Effect: “Oh, I know [all about] this already…” 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about other kinds of self-appointed experts on your jury (and how to dethrone them) but today’s work is a reflection of another aspect of perceived expert status. When you think you already know a lot about something, you can become closed-minded. You finish the testimony before the witness does. A closed […]

Related posts:
Propaganda, Dogmatism & Bias: Who are your jurors?
The “hoodie effect”: A domestic variant of the turban effect
Shooting the........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 166 views

I’m sorry: Six elements to make your apology optimal 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The phrase “I’m sorry” always reminds me of then 15-year-old Brenda Lee and her hit single. (That is, in psychology circles, called a tangential aside.) We haven’t written about apology here for a while now and a new study has just published that lists six elements to make your apology optimal. This post is to […]

Related posts:
Apology redux: Doing it right (and doing it wrong)
A carefully crafted apology doesn’t mean we think you are sincere
“There will be no apology from ........ Read more »

Lewicki, R., Polin, B., & Lount, R. (2016) An Exploration of the Structure of Effective Apologies. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 9(2), 177-196. DOI: 10.1111/ncmr.12073  

  • May 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 105 views

Inattention, nose shapes, sexism and climate change 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We often do these combination posts when we do not want to devote an entire post to a single article but think the information is worth sharing (or simply too odd not to share). So read on and be a scintillating (or perhaps simply odd) conversationalist. Smartphone alerts increase both inattention and hyperactivity This is […]

Related posts:
What do (13,000) Americans really think about  climate change?
Talking about climate change without  knee-jerk responses from listeners
Eyewitnes........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 12:32 PM
  • 206 views

The James Earl Jones (or Barry White) Effect now applies to women too! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Almost five years ago, we wrote about research saying men with deep voices were more persuasive. Science has moved forward though and now, women can also be more persuasive when using a deeper voice. Some call it a “sultry voice”. New work tells us your voice doesn’t have be a deep and resonant baritone to […]

Related posts:
Who has the deepest voice amongst the Republican  candidates for President?
Feel the power of that deep and resonant voice!
Here’s why that movie wasn’t ........ Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 134 views

Female? React emotionally and you’ll be seen as less  intelligent

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s tough to see the same old themes come up over and over again but—here we go again… Women who react emotionally are seen as less intelligent, but if they react in a “measured and manly way” they are thought not trustworthy. In other words, you can’t win for losing. “Men were rated as both […]

Related posts:
Here’s why that movie wasn’t called ’12 Angry Women’ 
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
Female bosses can lower a man’s pay & prest........ Read more »

Hess, U, David, S, & Hareli S. (2016) Emotional restraint is good for men only: The influence of emotional restraint on perceptions of confidence. Emotion. info:/

  • May 9, 2016
  • 11:47 AM
  • 252 views

Your face can get you killed… 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a sad study that tells us stereotypes are alive and well in American court systems. Let’s say you are unfortunate enough to be on trial for murder. According to this study, how wide your face is can be the difference between life and death if you are convicted–even if you are actually innocent. We’ve […]

Related posts:
You can tell a lot from looking at someone’s face…
Never trust a man with a wide face
I can tell from your face that you are suicid........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 281 views

Phubbing, more FOMO, blonde jokes, and what holds our  attention?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s time to run down some articles that are curious, but not substantial enough to justify a full blog post. Once again, we have kept a few pearls in our virtual filing cabinet, and have combined them here for your curiosity and possibly entertainment. This is one of those combination posts that will offer you […]

Related posts:
The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Scale
Red, redux: Men won’t pay attention to Tammy in red
Does this mean we need to pay no attention to 1 in  10 research f........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 198 views

A cure for the know-it-all: “Reflecting on explanatory ability” 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us think we know more than we actually do and sometimes, that sense is taken to an extreme that can be annoying (as well as inaccurate). Two years ago, we wrote about a study on modulating political extremism and mentioned the recommended strategy was similar to one we use to topple self-appointed “experts” […]

Related posts:
Uncommon Wisdom: Lessons from Patent and IP  Mock Jurors
So can you explain how that works in your own words?
Guilt-proneness and the ability to recog........ Read more »

  • April 25, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 249 views

“Creepiness”: You know it when you see it! 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know what ‘creepy’ is and in the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins personified creepiness. While it may be hard to believe, no one has ever “pinned down” what makes a person creepy. Since there must be a need for such information, enter academic Francis McAndrew of Knox University (in Galesburg, Illinois), […]

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Who among the British people is 100% heterosexual? 
Don’t confuse me with your ethnicity!
Is there an effective strategy that reduces a........ Read more »

McAndrew, F., & Koehnke, S. (2016) On the nature of creepiness. New Ideas in Psychology,, 10-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2016.03.003  

  • April 22, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 276 views

Listen to that man! He is attractive and likely high in status

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

If a man is a good storyteller, we tend to see him as more attractive and as having higher status. That is, if we are looking for a long-term relationship partner. Unfortunately, it does not work for women storytellers with male audiences nor for those looking for a short-term relationship. This is the first series […]

Related posts:
How I assess your status (or lack thereof) at a glance
When you wear glasses you are less attractive but more smart and trustworthy
Will Mozart or Metallic........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 190 views

Eureka! Epiphanies and aha! moments: Trust them  

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

When I was younger, I would have moments of clarity I referred to as epiphanies. I learned pretty quickly that if I did not somehow reinforce that epiphany in my mind, I would forget it—only to (sometimes) realize it again at some point in the future. So now, when I am working on a project […]

Related posts:
Never trust a man with a wide face
The Trust in Science and Scientists Inventory Scale 
Everyone knows you just can’t trust an atheist!


... Read more »

  • April 18, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 299 views

How you do not want jurors to look at you: The  universal “not face” 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney had a bad day at the Olympics in 2012 and the facial expression illustrating this post went viral. She was “not impressed” said the internet—and today’s researchers would say the internet was half right. What McKayla Maroney was really showing us, according to today’s research, was the universal “not face”. Researchers […]

Related posts:
“I can tell how she feels by looking at her face…”
You can tell a lot from looking at someone’........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 285 views

Negotiating with a manipulative party? Try doing it in text and you  may fare better

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about those with what are called the “dark triad” of personality characteristics. Narcissists. Psychopaths. Machiavellians. These are not people we recommend doing business with—either personally or professionally. Their only interest is self-interest. So this is an interesting study as it shares a possible way to inoculate yourself against these untrustworthy folks […]

Related posts:
Negotiating salary: Ask for a precise number!
The Dirty Dozen Scale 
“I ........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 184 views

Bias against mixed race people depends on where you  live

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a somewhat predictable but still disturbing finding: If you live in an area where you are not exposed to other races—those of mixed race are confusing to you and that confusion leads to bias against anyone of mixed race. At least confusion is better than outrage—which is what greeted the makers of Cheerios cereal […]

Related posts:
Who is multiracial? Apparently, it depends on how you ask… 
Playing the race card: When it works and why it doesn’t
So we cannot talk about........ Read more »

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