The Jury Room (Keene Trial Consulting)

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American attitudes toward the rise of automation 

May 17th, 2018|

Jokes about robots taking over the world aside, here are some (perhaps surprisingly) ambivalent findings about Americans’ comfort with the rise of artificial intelligence and automation. If you have read this blog for long, you know we rely on the Pew Research Center to help us keep up on changing attitudes, beliefs and values of the American public. This time, they are examining the positive benefits Americans see as technology continues to develop. However, there is also a clear discomfort with how far technology will go that leaves survey respondents a bit anxious. (We have blogged about this same ambivalence

Do you believe in “neuromyths”? Do  you even know what they are?

May 15th, 2018|

As it happens, two recent articles address this question and share the neuromyths that even many educators believe. Here is a quick definition of what a neuromyth is: “Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain research, many of which relate to learning and education.”  Researchers have surveyed educators, the public and people who have completed neuroscience courses, to assess their belief in neuromyths. We will use a finding we read about earlier to help you remember that these myths are not true—they are (by definition) false.  We are presenting these to you in the hope that if you, like many, think

Where do your jurors get their news and does that information  teach you?

May 8th, 2018|

We have all suspected that the use of traditional news sources (like TV news programs) is declining and a new Pew Research survey (as well as our own pretrial research) shows that to be true. Here are a few of the latest Pew findings:  Just 50% of US adults get their news regularly from television (down from 57% in early 2016).  While local TV news has declined the most in viewership, it still has a larger audience than either network or cable TV news shows.  There is a strong relationship between age and TV news habits. As you may have

Who exactly is “the liberal media”? A patent  attorney tackles the question (thoroughly)

May 3rd, 2018|

We hear so much about “the liberal media” these days that this infographic made us stop and review carefully. It was interesting to see that some of the sites we had casually mentally categorized as either liberal or conservative were truly neither and instead gave a “balanced” view of the news (according to the patent attorney who ranked them).  First, let’s start with that attorney. “Vanessa” is a practicing patent attorney in Denver, Colorado (read about her here). Vanessa writes the blog All Generalizations Are False. Further, she actually published and then modified her Media Bias Chart (see her site

Five characteristic ways people approach facts and information (from  the ‘eager and willing’ to ‘the wary’)

May 1st, 2018|

The Pew Research Center published an article on their new typology of how people approach facts and information in late 2017 (information on their methodology here). It’s an interesting typology (one of those—“there are 5 kinds of people” theories) and may be useful in assessing how open your jurors will be to new information relevant to your case facts. Or, it might give you ideas about how to frame a narrative so that more people embrace it. As you might expect, people approach new information differently. We’ve all seen this and some of us approach new information in different ways

American perspectives on federal agencies: Thumbs up or thumbs  down?

April 24th, 2018|

If you only listen to some news channels, you would think that US citizens have very negative perspectives on federal agencies—especially the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). You would however, be incorrect according to the latest Pew Research survey. In the face of increased media noise, it is important to maintain awareness of what the data says and not what we hear repeatedly is true. We hope you will review the entire survey report (which is only 4 pages long) but we are only covering some of their findings here.  Here are a few of the report highlights:   USPS

Looking [in the Netherlands and in Wisconsin] for core characteristics of the psychopath 

April 19th, 2018|

The mental image many of us have of psychopaths is similar to the graphic illustrating this post. They are terrifying. “Terrifying” however is pretty vague and we need a more precise vocabulary to discuss what you see in a psychopath—that is, their core characteristics. Apparently, the more research that has been done on the psychopath, the more disagreement there is about which characteristics are “core to” or “define” the psychopath. Here’s a study that helps to identify what the core characteristics are of the psychopath by comparing similarities and differences between psychopaths in the US and the Netherlands. In an

Views on scientists and tips to counter “fake news??? and  “alternative facts??? 

April 17th, 2018|

This blog is about the intersection of social science and litigation advocacy. One of the central dilemmas litigators frequently face is how to deal with complex ideas to those who are uncomfortable with the ‘science-y’ parts of a case. Whether it is about how quickly a car decelerates, the ways in which a drug affects behavior, or the differences between two inventions—the challenge for jurors is to understand what is being asserted. And of course, that is the responsibility of the trial team and their witnesses. We’ve all read the mass media stories saying that Americans do not trust scientists—but

Been buying different products lately? Maybe you are witnessing too much immoral behavior 

March 1st, 2018|

Seriously. Kellogg Northwestern has just examined a number of research studies showing that seeing or hearing about too many scandals may result in purchase decisions made in seemingly unrelated areas. Here’s how their review starts: You’re at the grocery store, scanning your phone while walking through the aisles. An article pops up about a CEO caught embezzling millions from the employee pension fund. You shake your head in disgust, then turn your attention to which ketchup to buy. And while it seems entirely unrelated, the condiment you choose could be impacted by the news you just read. As you may

We are all stressed in the USA and it looks like politics[and the media] is to blame 

February 27th, 2018|

If you knew this already, congratulations. Your ability to perceive reality is intact. Your wisdom has been affirmed by the data. We wanted you to see some of the results from the new Stress in America survey published recently by the American Psychological Association. What is particularly of interest is that this annual survey is usually released in February of each year. When the APA saw how the results of the survey mirrored our current sociopolitical climate in the US—they released the study results early. Here are just a few of the media reactions to the report (which shows American