Thanks for stopping by….

May 20th, 2019|

I grew up in a wilderness area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a town proudly proclaiming almost 300 citizens on its road sign. Life there focused on survival, and was fairly insular since we were so remote. I knew there was a big world beyond my peninsula and was very curious about what else was out there. I left Michigan at 18 and headed to college where I began to catch glimpses of the enormity of the world and the different people, traditions, attitudes, values, and beliefs. I have always been a “watcher” and have enjoyed learning by reading, observing,

What a long, amazing trip it’s been!

May 15th, 2019|

Over the 10 years we have been researching, writing, and publishing The Jury Room blog, we have also been traveling coast to coast, applying what we have been writing about on an amazing array of cases. We have come to the realization that we are tired. And this is my last blog post. Rita will bat clean-up with her final reflections after my own. I don’t want to kid anyone— this blog was Rita Handrich’s idea, her vision, her style, and her achievement. Over 98% of the blogs were researched and written by Rita, and I added my 2 cents

Religious beliefs among Black men and women in the United States

October 18th, 2018|

Pew Research has a new post up comparing the religious beliefs of Black men to those of Black women (as well as White and Hispanic men and women). We’ve written here about the roles of religion and race (and who you want on your jury when) a number of different times here. Most recently, we blogged on the religious practices of Black Americans when compared to White Americans.  Over time, Pew has developed a scale that considers four topics (i.e., frequency of prayer, belief in God, attendance at religious services, and the importance of religion in one’s life) to assess

Font choice that can improve your memory (and maybe  the memory of your jurors as well)

October 16th, 2018|

That’s a pretty amazing claim, don’t you think? It’s also a very annoying looking font but you can download it free so there is that. We’ve written here about font choices a number of times and it appears that the more you have to focus and concentrate to read a font (that disruption is called “creating a disfluency”), the more you will remember. So. This new font is called Sans Forgetica. No. We didn’t make that up.  The font was designed in Australia at RMIT University. The font creators are graphic design students, psychologists, and researchers and (presumably) they brought

Who’s a conspiracy theorist and can you really “see” them? 

October 11th, 2018|

We love to have the occasional conspiracy theorist show up in our pretrial research as they have much to teach us about plugging holes in case narratives. We love it so much we have blogged about conspiracy theorists and theories repeatedly. So imagine the joy at The Jury Room blog headquarters when a new 2018 study supported the findings from a 2017 study. You might actually be able to identify the conspiracy theorist before they are chosen to serve on your jury!  The first article (2017) was published in the Social Psychology journal. In short, what the research found is

Simple Jury Persuasion: Dispel myths by redirecting the belief 

October 9th, 2018|

Not long ago we blogged about the false perceptions Americans have of the proportion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the overall population. What the research on which that blog post was based told us is that there are some people who consistently over-estimate the population proportion of LGBTQ people and that “those who overestimate the proportion of gay/lesbian/bisexual Americans are also more likely to hold false beliefs about homosexuality and less likely to support gay-rights policies like employment protection, child adoption, and same-sex marriage”.  Today, we have a couple more resources to help you understand some

Do you want more men or more women on your  criminal jury? 

October 4th, 2018|

A new study by economists tells us it depends on whether you yourself are male or female. To examine the question of whether own-gender juries (i.e., jurors who are the same gender as you, the defendant) vary in conviction rates, the researchers looked at “detailed administrative data on the juror selection process and trial proceedings for two large counties [Palm Beach and Hillsborough Counties] in Florida”.  The researchers report their data included “all felony and misdemeanor trials over a two-year period, and contain detailed information on defendant characteristics as well as case characteristics”. The information gathered also included demographic information

What does a narcissist look like?  Apparently, it depends on their political views

October 2nd, 2018|

We have blogged a few times here on the ways conservatives and liberals differ — in fact, for a while it seemed there was new research coming out about differences between those two groups routinely. But now we have another one—narcissism apparently shows up in different ways depending on whether you are liberal or conservative.  The researchers were looking at the relationship between social narcissism and political behaviors and values. They surveyed 750 American adults (a nationally representative sample) between October 26 and November 1, 2016. They used the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (a measure commonly used in social sciences research)

Afraid you might be murdered? Take a suspicious look at your  spouse and co-workers

September 27th, 2018|

Okay, we admit to some level of fascination with who murders who and what happens at trial here. Usually you will find it in posts about how bias enters the courtroom. But this week, a couple of strange stories came up that made us stop and recall those older posts. If you are wondering who might murder you, you may want to stop looking for men with tattoos on their faces, ax murderers, psychopaths, and strangers on the train—and start looking at your spouse and coworkers. You just can’t trust anyone anymore.  How to Murder Your Husband Here’s a good

A survey on gay and transgender kids— & a  voir dire tip that might surprise you

September 25th, 2018|

A new survey has come out that is the first to show us what cisgender kids think of their transgender peers.  First a reminder of what cisgender is: it is simply the term used to describe someone who identifies with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.  What do cisgender kids think about their transgender peers? The survey was published in the Journal of Cognition and Development and explored “5- to 10-year-old children’s (N=113) preferences for transgender versus gender-“typical” peers who either shared their gender identity or did not”. The authors describe their results this way:  “Children preferred