Category: psychology

  • Battle of the Neuropeptides

    Let’s say you’re a criminal-defense lawyer, and you’re about to pick a jury. You want the jury to trust you and to be generous with your client, but you’re not sure you can trust them to. What can you do to improve your chances? Here’s the new-agey TLC kumbaya answer: trust them first.

  • Witnesses Playing God

    [A] good-faith, case-by-case, consequential ethics approach should be used that balances the greatest good for the greatest number without trampling unduly on individual rights and each citizen’s constitutionally protected liberty interests. Sreenivasan, Frances, and Weinberger, Normative Versus Consequential Ethics in Sexually Violent Predator Laws: An Ethics Conundrum for Psychiatry, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 38:3:386-391 […]

  • Mmmmm…Chicha!

    Houston DUI lawyer Paul Kennedy, in Going for the Gut, calls to our attention this Boston Globe article by Drake Bennett about how disgust may shape our moral judgments. A few thoughts: First, one of the experiments discussed: In one study, [psychologist Jonathan Haidt] had some of his unfortunate test subjects respond to four vignettes […]

  • Say It. Draw It. Act It.

    Check out Vrij et al., Outsmarting the Liars: The Benefit of Asking Unanticipated Questions (PDF), from Law and Human Behavior (June 2008). Vrij notes that If investigators interview individual suspects once (with no factual information about the case), they tend to rely more on noverbal cues than verbal cues to detect deceit. However, when investigators […]

  • Because Sometimes We Buy Our Own Bullshit

    In the comments to Murphy’s Law of Investigation we had a little discussion of what a lawyer should do when his client maintains his factual innocence, and he discovers that there is evidence that, if analyzed, could either confirm that factual innocence or conclusively disprove it. Renaissance man Joel “JDog” Rosenberg wrote of a hypothetical […]

  • Murphy’s Law of Investigation

    From today’s Houston Chronicle: DNA evidence — collected in 2002, but unexamined until now — has cleared [RR,] a Houston man serving a 40-year prison sentence for the sexual assault of a child. The complainant (the Chronicle calls him “the victim”, but in this case that term is ambiguous) who identified RR had, when describing […]

  • Ladies of the Jury, Opposing Counsel is Just Like You . . . Except that She’s Much More Successful

    When I read articles about quirks of human behavior, I try to think of how I can take advantage of them both defensively and offensively. For example, when I read an article (from the American Society of Trial Consultants’ The Jury Expert magazine) entitled How We Can Help Witnesses Remember More, I consider not only […]

  • I Want Angry Jurors With Low Self-Esteem

    I’ve started reading the quarterly magazine of the American Society of Trial Consultants, The Jury Expert. It’s right up Defending People readers’ alley; it’s even subtitled “The Art and Science of Litigation Advocacy. I downloaded a stack of issues to carry in my bag for quiet times; there are several treasures in each volume. If […]