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  • March 21, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 519 views

Does race make a difference in how jurors perceive  battered spouse syndrome cases?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

In a word, yes. But perhaps not in the way you might think. Researchers were interested in seeing if the race of parties involved in battered spouse syndrome case defenses would make a difference in how jurors made decisions about verdicts. The researchers say their study is a contribution to the “scarce literature on the […]

Related posts:
Playing the race card: When it works and why it doesn’t
Is it possible that jurors will be misled by emotional  testimony and gruesome photos? ........ Read more »

  • March 18, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 732 views

The Metaphor Usage Measure (MUM) Scale 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We often pick up terrific metaphors that fit well with specific cases during pretrial research. Sometimes they are very funny and sometimes they are simply evocative. But they are almost always useful and we listen carefully to see how they resonate with other mock jurors when they arise. Today’s research describes a scale to help […]

Related posts:
The GASP scale: A new measure of guilt and shame proneness
The Dirty Dozen Scale 
The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale 


... Read more »

Fetterman, AK, Bair, JL, Werth, M, Landkammer, F, & Robinson, MD. (2015) The scope and consequences of metaphoric thinking: Using individual differences in metaphor usage to understand how metaphors function. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/

  • March 16, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 743 views

”Willful ignorance” and the denigration of others 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

A while back we wrote about meat-eaters denigrating vegetarians. Apparently it is more common than one might think to make fun of “do-gooders” if you are not a “do-gooder” yourself. Today we are examining research on making fun of those who shop ethically. According to the researchers (from Ohio State University’s marketing department and UT […]

Related posts:
Does the Millennial know that tattoo might be a business  faux pas?
“I am so tired of people mistaking me for a mode........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 472 views

Want to be seen as a leader? Go work out! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It wasn’t long ago we said all you had to do to be seen as a leader was grow a mustache but apparently this also helps! Men who look “strong” physically are presumed to be good leaders compared to men who do not look strong physically. These researchers had mastered Photoshop so we know their […]

Related posts:
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
Now, that’s a good-looking leader! (At  least, in this group.)
Want to be a leader? Maybe you should grow a  mustache........ Read more »

Lukaszewski, A., Simmons, Z., Anderson, C., & Roney, J. (2015) The Role of Physical Formidability in Human Social Status Allocation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000042  

  • March 4, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 686 views

Punctuation is important in text messages! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Not life and death important like commas can be, but if you do not make a point of ending your text reply with a period you may be misinterpreted. Just last week we blogged about the sarcasm emoticon and now we are blogging about periods? It’s true. Punctuation can not only save lives, it apparently […]

Related posts:
“I know I shouldn’t text from the toilet,  but….”
Be careful what you text!
News You Can Use (like how Pepsi knows there was no mouse in your Mountain Dew)


... Read more »

Gunraj, D., Drumm-Hewitt, A., Dashow, E., Upadhyay, S., & Klin, C. (2016) Texting insincerely: The role of the period in text messaging. Computers in Human Behavior, 1067-1075. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.003  

  • March 2, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 646 views

“My brain made me do it”: A neurolaw update 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about neurolaw fairly routinely here and recently Science Magazine took a look at what they call “the growing use of neurobiological evidence in criminal trials”. In our own experiences with pretrial research, mock jurors are not often accepting of “my brain made me do it” defenses and will roll their eyes and sometimes […]

Related posts:
Neurolaw Update: Who’s in charge here—me or my brain?
On brains, brain damage, pedophilia and other things we don’t like ........ Read more »

  • February 29, 2016
  • 06:41 PM
  • 900 views

How (and when) to communicate sarcasm in email and texts 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

[Spoiler alert: Don’t do it. And especially don’t do it on a group message. But if you must, make it clear you are kidding.] We have covered the use of emoticons in legal settings before, but here’s a research article looking at what helps the receiver understand the context in which your written comments are […]

Related posts:
When is it just an email and when is it retaliation?
Simple Jury Persuasion: Should you communicate the details or the big picture?
Does Face-to-Face Inter........ Read more »

Filik R, Țurcan A, Thompson D, Harvey N, Davies H, & Turner A. (2015) Sarcasm and emoticons: Comprehension and emotional impact. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-17. PMID: 26513274  

  • February 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 781 views

Spiders, dogs, assassins, beards and the demons  of sleep paralysis (things you want to know)

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We read a lot of articles in order to blog regularly and often find intriguing (not to mention weird, odd, esoteric, freakish) pieces of information to which we do not wish to devote an entire post—yet, also do not wish to hoard the information. At times like these, you will see a collection of the […]

Related posts:
Feeling biased? Just go to sleep and wake up bias-free! 
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 
Do you believe there are Angels and Demons among us?

........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 627 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: What would Jesus do? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

A few years ago we were doing a mock trial in New York City and I saw a Rastafarian street vendor selling coffee cups with WWJD on them in block print. I thought it was odd and so looked more closely to find in teeny tiny letters under WWJD, it said “What would Jung do?”. […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: It’s really pretty black and white….
Simple Jury Persuasion: Analytic or Intuitive?
Simple Jury Persuasion: Christian religious concepts increase racial prejudice ........ Read more »

Ginges J, Sheikh H, Atran S, & Argo N. (2016) Thinking from God's perspective decreases biased valuation of the life of a nonbeliever. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(2), 316-9. PMID: 26711991  

  • February 22, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 758 views

Substance use and other mental health concerns among US  attorneys

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Over the past few years, following a number of high-profile attorney suicides, much more attention has focused on mental health needs of attorneys. The study we are featuring today was funded by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. In short, the authors conclude we need to pay more […]

Related posts:
Reports of novel or contradictory health research reduces public trust  in science
Lying makes me sick!
Defense Attorneys: More Sisyphus........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 653 views

So…are you a narcissist? [The Ivy League  edition]

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We wrote about the Single-Item Narcissism Scale (SINS) back in 2014 and now it is drawing interest from those in the Ivy League. Simplicity itself, the SINS scale is composed of a single question: Are you a narcissist? As you likely know, the most widely used measure of narcissism  which we’ve written about several times […]

Related posts:
Be still my heart: A short (one-item!) measure of narcissism? 
Narcissists and Pronouns: “I”, “me”, “mine” 
The Dirty Dozen Scale  ........ Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 586 views

When terrified, liberals end up thinking a lot more like  conservatives

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It’s a basic tenet of the reptile theory that you want to frighten your jurors to make them vote for your client in deliberation. [The ABA has put out an open-access primer on the reptile theory and you can see that here.] It is also been shown repeatedly that conservatives are more fearful than liberals, […]

Related posts:
The evidence is mounting: The brains of liberals and conservatives differ
Are conservatives happier than liberals? Research says:  No.
Mean-spirited blog comments........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2016
  • 11:55 AM
  • 766 views

Want to be a leader? Maybe you should grow a  mustache…

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re unsure if this strategy would work for women but it seems to work for men—at least in medical schools and teaching hospitals. We do presume those male leaders with mustaches do not have the sort of mustache illustrating this post but what do we know? We also tend to believe that if a woman […]

Related posts:
You wanted to be a leader! Act like one! (or else)
Gender and Leadership: When Do Women Excel?
Now, that’s a good-looking leader! (At  least, in this group.)


... Read more »

  • January 4, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 733 views

Four (new) ways to identify a liar…. 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve tracked the literature on deception detection for some time now and so were glad to see recent multiple new entries in the pursuit of identifying liars. Rather than blogging about these strategies one at a time, here’s a combined entry to let you know about them all in a single post. Are children good […]

Related posts:
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
“Everyday liars” and “Prolific liars”
Do great liars know how to tell if you’re lying to them? (Yes, they ........ Read more »

Fenn, E., Blandón-Gitlin, I., Coons, J., Pineda, C., & Echon, R. (2015) The inhibitory spillover effect: Controlling the bladder makes better liars. Consciousness and Cognition, 112-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.09.003  

  • December 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 543 views

Here’s an updated version of the meteorologists ‘Santa Tracker’

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re taking a break until 2016 so we’ll see you in January! Most of us grew up watching the weather report on TV and seeing a NORAD ‘Santa Tracker’ showing where Santa and his sleigh were on their way for a long night of work. But this is 2015 and if you celebrate the holiday, […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
fMRIs and Persuasion: Did anyone tell the jurors?
A new neurolaw caveat to minimize punishmen........ Read more »

Hougaard A, Lindberg U, Arngrim N, Larsson HB, Olesen J, Amin FM, Ashina M, & Haddock BT. (2015) Evidence of a Christmas spirit network in the brain: functional MRI study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 26676562  

  • December 23, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 853 views

Reducing racial prejudice in just seven minutes 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This is a very different strategy for quickly reducing racial prejudice than past research has examined. This one involves the Buddhist practice called a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) which involves focusing on a specific individual and repeating phrases like “may you be happy and healthy”. Researchers wanted to see if practicing a Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) would […]

Related posts:
Is racial bias fueling anti-Obama rhetoric?
Seeing and Believing and Reducing Prejudice
Ten ........ Read more »

  • December 21, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 1,131 views

Tattoos as a restorative act (for college-aged women anyway) 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We write a lot about tattoos here—perhaps because we have Millennial aged kids and at least half of them have tattoos.  Okay, more than half. The meaning of tattoos has changed over the years and there seems little stigma still associated with them any longer. The authors of new research on college students (2,394 of […]

Related posts:
Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons
The new bumper sticker? Tattoos in the courtroom
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they n........ Read more »

Koch, J., Roberts, A., Armstrong, M., & Owen, D. (2015) Tattoos, gender, and well-being among American college students. The Social Science Journal, 52(4), 536-541. DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2015.08.001  

  • December 21, 2015
  • 08:57 AM
  • 965 views

GABA, autism, and the correlation that wasn’t there

by Jon Brock in DrBrocktagon

Gamma aminobutyric acid (or GABA for short) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter – it makes a neuron less likely to fire. GABA is important, not only in damping down brain activity, but also in controlling the precise timing of the neural impulses. It allows groups of neurons to synchronize their activity and transmit signals across the brain. […]... Read more »

Robertson, C., Ratai, E., & Kanwisher, N. (2015) Reduced GABAergic Action in the Autistic Brain. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.019  

  • December 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,142 views

The Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale and how much you really  use your smartphone

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us don’t know how much we rely on smartphone use and this is likely a very important piece of information to help us understand why it’s so very hard for many jurors to stay away from their phones while serving jury duty. While only a small study (29 participants between the ages of […]

Related posts:
The NoMoPhobia Scale (NMP-Q): What  happens when you are without your smartphone
More than half of your potential jurors have  smartphones now
Stop looking at your smartphone........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2015
  • 12:02 PM
  • 689 views

Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here it is, our last 2015 collection of things you may find intriguing to know (or not) that we found in our travels but to which we do not choose to devote an entire post. For the most part, these tidbits are based in scientific research and have helped some academic somewhere to obtain tenure. […]

Related posts:
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 
Tattoos: When should you clean up your witness?
“Glasses can’t hide neck tattoos”


... Read more »

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