Communication Archive

  • Uncovering bias in change of venue surveys.

    More Techniques for Uncovering Juror Bias before It’s Too Late

    by Mykol C. Hamilton and Kate Zephyrhawke Uncovering bias in change of venue surveys.

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  • It comes as no surprise that when a witness is perceived as being credible, his or her messages will be more persuasive to the jury. Much academic research has been conducted to determine the primary characteristics that measure credibility. There has even been a scale developed to measure the perceived […]

    How Does My Retained Expert Witness Improve Credibility?

    by Merrie Jo Pitera, Ph.D. It comes as no surprise that when a witness is perceived as being credible, his or her messages will be more persuasive to the jury. Much academic research has been conducted to determine the primary characteristics that measure credibility. There has even been a scale developed to measure the perceived […]

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  • Working with expert witnesses can be difficult for even the most seasoned attorneys and trial consultants. Oftentimes, egos and expertise can get in the way of an expert’s ability to deliver persuasive testimony, requiring attorneys and trial consultants to be creative when developing solutions that fit both the problem and […]

    Tips for Preparing the Expert Witness

    by Alyssa Tedder-King, M.S. and Katie Czyz, M.A. Working with expert witnesses can be difficult for even the most seasoned attorneys and trial consultants. Oftentimes, egos and expertise can get in the way of an expert’s ability to deliver persuasive testimony, requiring attorneys and trial consultants to be creative when developing solutions that fit both the problem and […]

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  • The use of expert witnesses has become commonplace within legal proceedings. As a result, research regarding how jurors perceive expert testimony has become of increasing importance. A variety of variables can influence juror perceptions of expert testimony, ranging from content-related variables (e.g., quality of the testimony, complexity of the testimony) […]

    Juror Perceptions of Women as Expert Witnesses: Suggestions for the Effects of Testimony Complexity, Gender-Intrusive Questioning, and Perceived Credibility

    by Brittany P. Bate The use of expert witnesses has become commonplace within legal proceedings. As a result, research regarding how jurors perceive expert testimony has become of increasing importance. A variety of variables can influence juror perceptions of expert testimony, ranging from content-related variables (e.g., quality of the testimony, complexity of the testimony) […]

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  • In her autobiography, Justice Sonia Sotomayor highlights emotion expression as a powerful persuasion tool—an argument that dates back to the 4th century B.C.E. (Aristotle, Rhetoric). Yet, expressing emotion has not always served her well. Her minority dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Michigan’s affirmative action ban (Schuette v. […]

    Expressing Anger Increases Male Jurors’ Influence, but Decreases Female Jurors’ Influence, During Mock Jury Deliberations

    by Jessica Salerno, Ph.D. and Liana Peter-Hagene, MA and Justin Sanchez, BA In her autobiography, Justice Sonia Sotomayor highlights emotion expression as a powerful persuasion tool—an argument that dates back to the 4th century B.C.E. (Aristotle, Rhetoric). Yet, expressing emotion has not always served her well. Her minority dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Michigan’s affirmative action ban (Schuette v. […]

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  • One of the biggest challenges lawyers face is witness examination. You know your job, you have done the preparation and yet, somehow, at some point, your witness seems to transform right in front of your eyes. You know the story. Witness “X” has presented in your office as thoughtful, credible, […]

    Understanding the Traumatized Witness

    by Lorie Hood, M.S. One of the biggest challenges lawyers face is witness examination. You know your job, you have done the preparation and yet, somehow, at some point, your witness seems to transform right in front of your eyes. You know the story. Witness “X” has presented in your office as thoughtful, credible, […]

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  • We've been discussing how to stop (or at least minimize) the number of jurors doing internet research while they are serving as jurors. Here, the idea of a "juror pledge" is presented as a way to educate jurors about why not doing research on their own is important and to, hopefully, decrease the incidence of "googling jurors".  In this article, a summary of a number of conversations over the years is presented and strategies in use are described. Language is provided for a number of juror pledges being used currently with hope this strategy will take root.

    Jurors Googling & Blogging – Can a Juror Pledge Stop Them?

    by Diane Wiley We've been discussing how to stop (or at least minimize) the number of jurors doing internet research while they are serving as jurors. Here, the idea of a "juror pledge" is presented as a way to educate jurors about why not doing research on their own is important and to, hopefully, decrease the incidence of "googling jurors". In this article, a summary of a number of conversations over the years is presented and strategies in use are described. Language is provided for a number of juror pledges being used currently with hope this strategy will take root.

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  • Schadenfreude, the experience of taking pleasure from the distress of another, is often in the courtroom. While schadenfreude might be a natural and understandable reaction to the contentious and possibly emotional environment of a courtroom, these researchers also address whether it can lead to harmful effects, and end by discussing ways to examine this phenomenon empirically.

    Schadenfreude In The Courtroom: Nonobvious Pleasures at Obvious Distress

    by Adele Mantiply and Michelle A. Jones and Stanley L. Brodsky, Ph.D. Schadenfreude, the experience of taking pleasure from the distress of another, is often in the courtroom. While schadenfreude might be a natural and understandable reaction to the contentious and possibly emotional environment of a courtroom, these researchers also address whether it can lead to harmful effects, and end by discussing ways to examine this phenomenon empirically.

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  • Prospective jurors "know" the "right answer" to the questions on whether they can be fair and unbiased. But in this research, two academics show us how traditional  voir dire and survey questions pose the question in a way that elicits a drastic under-reporting of individual biases. This article shows how to ask questions to help jurors acknowledge their biases (which we all have) in ways that does not shame them or make them feel like "bad people" for having biases.

    Revealing Juror Bias Without Biasing Your Juror: Experimental Evidence For Best Practice Survey And Voir Dire Questions

    by Mykol C. Hamilton, PhD and Kate Zephyrhawke, MA Prospective jurors "know" the "right answer" to the questions on whether they can be fair and unbiased. But in this research, two academics show us how traditional voir dire and survey questions pose the question in a way that elicits a drastic under-reporting of individual biases. This article shows how to ask questions to help jurors acknowledge their biases (which we all have) in ways that does not shame them or make them feel like "bad people" for having biases.

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  • As you plan the structure of your case narrative, here's a novel idea for figuring out what prospective jurors find most intriguing about your case. These researchers used a card sort task to have jurors identify which aspects of the case they wanted to hear about first. It's an intriguing look at case presentation planning.

    Jury Decision-making in Excuse Defense Cases: A Novel Methodological Approach

    by Christopher S. Peters, Ph.D. and James Michael Lampinen, Ph.D. As you plan the structure of your case narrative, here's a novel idea for figuring out what prospective jurors find most intriguing about your case. These researchers used a card sort task to have jurors identify which aspects of the case they wanted to hear about first. It's an intriguing look at case presentation planning.

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