When it comes to gender bias, judges have it too 

July 5th, 2018|

If you are not a judge, this finding may not surprise you. Based on this research, some judges will likely be surprised (or simply think the research is faulty) and others will nod in agreement. The researcher makes this statement:  “Judges tend to believe that their vast amount of legal training and logical thinking skills make them immune to these mistakes. This research is showing that judges are not as immune as maybe they think they are.” For many of us (including many sitting judges), bias is incongruent with how we see ourselves. Yet, we are all socialized and acculturated

Conclusions on Black-White multiracials: “Black + White = Not  White”

July 3rd, 2018|

You may recognize the child illustrating this post from a Cheerios commercial a few years ago that we blogged about several times. Today we are going to focus on what researchers found in attitudes toward categorizing Black-White multiracial people. That is, how are those with Black-White heritage “seen” and then labeled by observers? To assess, researchers gave participants photographs to “sort” into racial piles: Black, White, Multiracial. (They did multiple studies including some studies where Latino/Hispanic faces were added into the sorting task.) You will likely not be surprised to learn that over multiple studies, when various sorting tasks were

“His face got red and his neck was splotchy.” “He was a little scary.” 

June 21st, 2018|

We pay close attention to mock juror comments on witness testimony. We typically give mock jurors about 8 minutes of videotaped testimony and then ask for their feedback in rating factors of witness credibility but also with open-ended questions about their memorable impressions of each individual witness. This feedback process has resulted in a number of blog posts over the years as we took in mock juror advice for potential witnesses: Don’t put your fist in your mouth; “I can look in his eyes and tell he is a liar”; Don’t testify with a cold or runny nose because I

It’s still hard to be a woman but things are starting to look  up!

June 5th, 2018|

Alicia Keys was one of the first celebrities to endorse the #NoMakeup movement and famously appeared on national TV without makeup and with a variety of gorgeous head wraps. The #NoMakeup movement is billed as freeing for women although it doesn’t hurt to be naturally gorgeous like Keys. You may think this has nothing to do with the usual topics of this blog, but you would be incorrect.  Female leaders don’t wear heavy makeup Researchers compared a “cosmetic free” woman, a woman with minimal makeup on, and a woman with makeup applied for a “social night out”. The researchers tell

Simple Jury Persuasion: Being a good communicator is the  responsibility of the speaker, not the listener

May 31st, 2018|

I began listening to audiobooks in 1999. I know this because I saw it when I cancelled my membership in a well-known audiobook club a couple of months ago. When you drive, the hours fly by with an audiobook in your ear. I suddenly noticed (after almost 20 years of listening to books) that the public library had caught up with my audiobook club—except books from the library are free. So I went through my book club queue of things I’d like to listen to eventually and asked my public library for all of them. It works just the same—the

Two things that make us distrust scientists, science  news, and science experts

May 29th, 2018|

Not long ago we wrote a post questioning whether Americans really distrust scientists as much as the media says we distrust them. The short answer was “probably not” and we offered some strategies for enhancing trust. So today, we have two separate reports on things that result in decreased trust in scientists, science news, or science experts. Hint: You will want to pay attention to these issues in preparing your expert witnesses.  Poor sound quality makes us react negatively Researchers from the US and Australia recently published an article on how sound quality influences our evaluations of believability and credibility.

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