The Jury Room (Keene Trial Consulting)

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The Invisibility Cloak Illusion: We are more observant (and  yet, less observed) than all others

May 24th, 2017|

This is the sort of article that can either amuse or terrify you. It will amuse you if you are charmed by all the ways in which we see ourselves as superior to others. And it will terrify you if you do not want to know that you are always being observed closely by everyone around you. The article even starts off creepily: “People-watching is an age-old pastime. People notice and observe the people around them all the time—on trains, at cafés, waiting in line, at cocktail parties and office meetings, and beyond. Pretty much anywhere there are other people,

Watch for these changes in prospective jurors: Demographic  trends for 2017

May 22nd, 2017|

If you read this blog routinely, you know we like the work done by the Pew Research Center that keeps us abreast of how demographic patterns are changing. They’ve done it again with some trends for us to watch as 2017 marches forward. Here are some of the highlights from their report on how the world around us is changing. Millennials are now the largest generation in the US. In 2016, according to this new report, there were about 79.8M Millennials (aged 18 to 35 in 2016)compared to about 74.1M Boomers (aged 52 to 70 in 2016). The Millennial population

The appeal of the dangerous woman and more things you should want to know about women

May 19th, 2017|

One of the most common internet searches that brings people to our blog is “women who stalk” and we intermittently receive emails from men who say they have been belittled by the police for reporting a female stalker. They wonder if we can somehow help them. (No. We cannot. We typically refer them back to law enforcement in their area.) Dangerous women are apparently intensely interesting and intensely frightening, as we’ve seen by the number of visits to our posts on women who murder or commit other violent crimes. Female cannibals “frighten and fascinate” We will start with the most

Those who only kill children are neuro-psychologically different from other murderers

May 17th, 2017|

Of course it isn’t a surprise that they are gravely disturbed, but who knew it was neuropsychological?  This is an article from researchers at Northwestern University and looks very specifically at similarities and differences in the neuropsychological test scores of those who killed only children and those who killed some adults as well as children. The researchers start by telling us that the murder of a child is among the “rarest and least understood categories of homicide”. It is a fairly gruesome inquiry that the researchers say is made all the more necessary with media coverage that has mostly focused

“Resting bitch face [RBF]”: It does not mean what you (often) think it means

May 15th, 2017|

‘Resting Bitch Face’ is, in case you missed it, the condition of having a neutral facial expression that people perceive as sour, unpleasant, and generally bitchy. Long before was RBF was a thing, a woman in my graduate school class told me that professors often thought she was angry because her face carried a flat expression when she was thinking. “It’s just how my face is!” she protested. Years later, allegedly not until 2013 (although it hit the Urban Dictionary in 2011), the phrase went viral. It is a “real thing” say scientists, is seen in the famous and the not-famous,

Lies, lies and more lies: An update on deception research 

May 5th, 2017|

All this week, we have focused on research about lying but there are multiple other articles we want to share with you that will not require a full post. Think of this post as an update on deception that will aid you in preparation for court (and life in general). Small, self-serving lies change our brain and make us more likely to lie for personal gain It really is like a slippery slope. Like much deception research these days, this project used fMRIs to scan participants brains while they lied. First they told small lies and their brain’s amygdala lit

Artful Paltering: One more way people lie (especially in  negotiations!)

May 3rd, 2017|

Back in 2010, we posted on an article called Artful Dodging that talked about how politicians in particular, answer the question they prefer to answer rather than the question you asked. We talked about responding to that strategy in voir dire. Now, we have another article from the same group of researchers and this one is on lying by using the truth. Here’s how a press release describes paltering: The ability to deceive someone by telling the truth is not only possible, it has a name — paltering — it’s common in negotiations and those who palter can do serious

The illusion of truth (which is why you should never  repeat fake news)

May 1st, 2017|

It’s been all about “fake news” for a while now and here’s a study telling us to just stop talking about it. Well, sort of. What it actually says is even when we have knowledge to the contrary, if we hear something repeated enough—we come to believe it. Hence, our recommendation that we need to all stop repeating fake news—even if our comment is on how ridiculous it may seem. It is as if the false statements morph when repeated enough from outrageous to familiar to having a ring of truth. Merely by repetition. It’s a bit like the dictum

Which science is most “certain” according to the American public? 

April 7th, 2017|

When litigation cases rely on science or highly technical information, it is critical to help jurors understand the information underlying the case at a level that makes sense to them. If they do not understand your “science”, they will simply guess which party to vote for or “follow the crowd”. Here’s an example of what happened when scientists “followed the crowd” to see what fields of science were seen as most precise (and therefore reliable). You can see from the graphic illustrating this post that too many people are watching CSI shows on TV. When forensic science is more “certain”

Your Black client is much more likely to be wrongfully convicted

April 5th, 2017|

Those of us who’ve been around for a while have heard this repeatedly. But, lest you think times are changing, here’s some sobering data from a March, 2017 report co-edited by a Michigan State University College of Law Professor. From the beginning, this is a disturbing report. Here’s how it starts: African-Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent