Jury Behavior Posts

  • A Trial Consultant’s Experience with Jury Duty

    Even though I spend a significant amount of time in a courtroom for my job as a trial consultant, it is rare that I have the opportunity to be on the other side of the equation and serve as a …

  • “Alexa” Hears Everything and Jurors See Everything

    Recently there was quite a stir over the possibility that Alexa, Amazon’s highly successful and useful home device, could be listening to everything everyone says (it’s too late, she has already heard what you have said), and that it could …

  • Helping Jurors Avoid "Alternative Facts"

    Kellyanne Conway has introduced the concept of “alternative facts” into the political discourse with her defense of President Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s assertions about crowd size at the presidential inauguration. Of course, this isn’t the first time this concept …

  • Alternative Facts Don’t Fly in the Jury Room

    Alternative facts seem to be getting in the way a lot these days. Sean Spicer’s representation that President Trump’s January 20 inauguration audience “…was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” …

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Slow Down: Slow-Motion Bias in Civil Trials

    In 2009, John Lewis stood trial for shooting and killing a police officer in Philadelphia during an armed robbery of a doughnut store. In an unexpected turn of events, Lewis plead guilty to murder on the fourth day of jury …

  • No, You Cannot Change Their Minds

    With the recent evolution of social media, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family with whom we might have stopped interacting in the past. There are, of course, some pluses and minuses to this. …

  • Four out of Five Dentists Prefer Brand X, But There is Only a 20% Chance of That: Juror Decision-Making and Statistical Idioms

    Statistics are everywhere—used, over-used, misunderstood, misused. Data, in the form of descriptive or inferential statistics, can be useful in developing understanding of conditions and events, and potentially informing or predicting outcomes. But there is considerable mistrust of statistics, as well …

  • Justice Seekers or Rogue Jurors? - Shining the Spotlight on Jury Nullification

    Jury nullification, or the power of the jury to disregard a law if they either do not agree with a law or feel it has been applied unjustly, has gained media exposure recently across the nation. The New Hampshire House …

  • Jurors Are Always Watching… And Making Judgments

    Recently, Hulk Hogan was awarded $140 million against Gawker for posting a private video of him on their website without his permission. This trial received extensive media coverage and the jurors have offered interviews giving insight into their decision-making, which, …

  • Does it work or not? Communication Style versus Effectiveness

    Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to watch segments of both the Republican and Democratic presidential debates with friends. Regardless of which debate I’m watching, someone always comments on the candidates interrupting each other. Once, out of curiosity, I asked, “What …

  • Religious Discrimination Cases in the Secular Pacific Northwest

    The South has Evangelical Christians, the Midwest has Protestant Christians, the Northeast and Southwest have Catholics, and the Pacific Northwest has “nones.” In 2014 the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas found that Seattle was tied at second place …

  • Published in The Jury Expert: Identifying Googling Jurors

    The Googling Juror is becoming increasingly important to identify. In the December 2015 issue of The Jury Expert, researchers Alexis Knutson of Tsongas Litigation Consulting with Edie Greene and Robert Durham of University of Colorado Colorado Springs published an article …

  • This Is Your Brain On Narrative...

    A stock bit of advice that is frequently used by trial consultants is that you have to “tell a story” to be successful in trial.  The mere “stacking of facts” is not enough to successfully persuade a jury to accept …

  • More Than a Feelin': Using Small Group Research to Inform Settlement Decisions in Civil Lawsuits

    We are excited to share with you the recent publication of Alexis Knutson, M.A., Tsongas Research Associate, with Natalie Gordon and Edie Greene, Ph.D. of University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in the Georgia State University Law Review. The article describes …

  • Mock Trials Reveal Jurors' Uncommon Wisdoms

    Mock trials have many benefits. Attorneys hire jury consultants to conduct mock trials to learn (or confirm), among other things, the strengths and weaknesses of a case, the story jurors will adopt when deciding the case, and what questions jurors …

  • Keeping Juror Internet Use in Check

    Consider for a moment how frequently you search the internet in a given day. While some of the searches are probably just for fun (like this one of bulldog puppies), most of your searches are probably conducted to learn more …

  • Overcoming Appeals to Nature and Distrust of Science

    I was having lunch on a beautiful spring day with a very smart attorney friend of mine recently. He had a big civil trial coming up that involved having to persuade a jury on some relatively complicated scientific evidence. The …

  • A Trial Consultant Walks Into A Courtroom—And You Won’t BELIEVE What Happens Next!

    If you have spent any amount of time on social media sites like Facebook, you have inevitably seen headlines similar to that of this blog. Other favorites include: “Your Jaw Will Drop at What Happened Next!” and “Tears Will Roll …

  • Disregard This Blog: Why Instructions to "Disregard" Evidence Often Fail

    Let’s try an experiment: For the next 5 minutes, don’t think about Kim Kardashian. Keep a tally of each time your mind slips and you do think about her, but again: don’t think about her. How did you do? Of …

  • Curiosity Promotes Learning

    A teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie came out recently, sending fans of the series, including my 3-year old, Emperor-obsessed niece, into a frenzy. The trailer is roughly 90 seconds long and provides very little information about the …

  • Metaphors as a Teaching Tool

    There are times when I’m working with clients when I’ll suggest a colorful metaphor as a way of communicating an idea about the case.  Sometimes these suggestions are well-received, and other times an attorney might be reluctant to implement the …

  • Jurors bias evidence to help "their side"

    When I studied juror decision-making in graduate school, I was most concerned about the ecological and external validity of my research. That is, does the design of the study sufficiently replicate real life and are the findings generalizable to the …

  • The Spotlight Is Not As Bright As You Think

    One of my favorite topics from the world of social psychology is the “spotlight effect.”1  This describes our tendency to overestimate the degree to which other people notice us. Because we are egocentric, we are very aware of our own …

  • Brain Games

    It’s not often that my 15 year-old son tells me there’s this “great” show he wants me to watch with him that doesn’t involve car chases, fights, and some bad jokes.  But that’s  what happened last week when he told …

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