What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Jury Decision Making

What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Jury Decision Making

July 20, 2018, Live Webcast

Texas MCLE Course Number: 174021850 (up to 1.00 hr)


Presented by: UT Law CLE

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A studio webcast that I did earlier this month discussed how jury decision-making may be impacted by both unconscious biases and cognitive science.

What makes a bigger impression on a jury—your opening statement or closing argument? What causes jurors to conform to the pressures of others and can voir dire mitigate these effects? How do leading questions affect jury verdicts?

The 1-hour recording will be available here with the opportunity to earn CLE credit in TX and CA!

Cognitive Science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind. In psychology, it is the study of attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, reasoning and thinking. A major area of Cognitive Science is the area of bias. We are naturally drawn to details that confirm our own existing beliefs and, similar to that, we tend to not notice the flaws in ourselves as easily as we notice the flaws in other people.

We will also fill in the gaps of our understanding if we don’t feel like we have enough information or meaning to make a decision. This is where relying on stereotypes comes in to play – an easy, but inaccurate way, to understand a group you may otherwise be unfamiliar with. We can unintentionally think favorable towards groups and people we are familiar with versus those we might not understand or know. Both of these tendencies have a great deal to do with the underlying biases around racism, sexism, homophobia, and similar biases against other groups.

Our memory has limits. It is changeable over time because we edit and reinforce some memories after the fact. We tend to
discard specific information in order to form generalities. Knowing that everyone’s brain operates this way, it is up to the litigator to do some of this work for the jury and frame your case in ways they will digest. Knowing jury members will edit and
reinforce memories after they have heard them, the power of repetition of certain key facts is important.

For more on the effects of Cognitive Science, stay tuned for our published recording on this discussion.

Reducing our Carbon Footprint

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the Legal Consensus team will be working remotely at times. Because we are working remotely we have decided to downsize the physical space. You can find us at 4000 Medical Parkway, Suite 205, Austin, TX 78756. We are located near Central Market and have plenty of parking. We are also conveniently located near the 803 Metro Rapid Bus route. Here is a great article if you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint.

25+ Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Ryan Sutton, Ph.D to Join Legal Consensus Team

Legal Consensus welcomes the addition of our new postdoctoral fellow, Ryan Sutton, Ph.D. A graduate of both Howard University and Xavier University, Dr. Sutton comes to us most recently from the Child Guidance Clinic located in the D.C. Superior Court of Washington D.C. Dr. Sutton has extensive experience conducting psychological assessments as was the 1st place Research Award Winner for the Research Association of Minority Professors. As such, he will be working with Legal Consensus as both capacities as an expert in psychological assessment and heading up our research program. We are grateful to have him through the support of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement located at the University of Texas at Austin.

The New Legal Consensus Website Is Live!

Our new, responsive website is ready and we’re thrilled to share it with you. We appreciate you visiting and always welcome your feedback. If you have any website, branding or other marketing or advertising needs, we strongly recommend contacting the fine folks at mixtape marketing: www.mixtapeagency.com / 512.981.7155

Welcome Beth Prasse to the Legal Consensus Team

Legal Consensus welcomes the addition of our new Office Manager and Administrative Assistant, Beth Prasse. Coming from an accounting background, we are so pleased to have her in charge of our invoicing process and the general ins and outs of the office. If you have any administrative needs, please do not hesitate to contact her.

Welcome Shelley McCarthy to the Legal Consensus Team

Legal Consensus welcomes the addition of our new Project Manager, Shelley McCarthy. Ms. McCarthy has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Virginia. As such, she is the perfect liaison between attorney’s offices and Legal Consensus so you know just how your client’s evaluation is progressing. She will usher your client through the paperwork and scheduling process as well as keep you up to date as we schedule collateral calls and obtain collateral documents. She is also in charge of our psychologists’ schedules. If you have a question about any of these issues, do not hesitate to contact her. We are so delighted to have her on our team!

Legal Consensus Has Moved

Please make note of our new address below. As always, we welcome visitors during business hours but recommend calling in advance, to ensure someone will be in our office to greet you. Clients wishing to make a secure online payment may still do so using PayPal.

8500 Shoal Creek Blvd
Building 4, Suite 103
Austin, TX 78757