Sunday, February 26, 2012

John Bargh on the Unconscious

Implicit Juror Bias

(Re)Forming the Jury: Detection and Disinfection of Implicit Juror Bias

Anna Roberts

NYU School of Law

Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 44, 2012
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-70

This Article investigates whether one of the most intractable problems in trial procedure can be ameliorated through the use of one of the most striking discoveries in social science. The intractable problem is selecting a fair jury. Current doctrine fails to address the fact that jurors harbor not only explicit, or conscious bias, but also implicit, or unconscious, bias. The discovery is the Implicit Association Test (“IAT”), an online test that aims to reveal implicit bias.

This Article conducts the first comparison of proposals that the IAT be used to address jury bias. They fall into two groups. The first group would use the IAT to “screen” potential jurors for implicit bias; the second group would use the IAT to educate jurors about implicit bias. These proposals merit deeper consideration. Implicit bias is pervasive, and affects crucial juror functions: evaluation of evidence, recall of facts, and judgments of guilt. Juries are generally told nothing about implicit bias. The judiciary has expressed concern about implicit juror bias, and sought help from the academy in addressing the problem.

I provide what the proposals lack: critique and context. I show that using the IAT to screen jurors is misguided. The educational project has merit, however, since implicit bias can be countered through knowledge of its existence and motivation to address it. To refine the project, I identify two vital issues that distinguish the proposals: when jurors should learn about implicit bias, and how they should learn.

On the issue of when, I argue that the education should begin while the jurors are still being oriented. Orientation is not only universal, but, as research into “priming” and “framing” has shown, a crucial period for the forming of first impressions. On the issue of how, I argue that those proposals that would include the jurors taking an IAT are superior to those that would simply instruct jurors on what the IAT shows. In an area fraught with denial, mere instruction would likely be dismissed as irrelevant. I use pedagogical theory to show that experiential learning about bias is more likely to be effective.

I bring when and how together, proposing a model that would include the use of the IAT as an experiential learning tool during orientation. It would harness the civic energy of jurors to an educational purpose, rather than letting it morph into boredom; by putting jurors in an active mindset, it would enhance their satisfaction with the process, and their ability to perform optimally. As for potential jurors who are never selected, their participation would honor the long-standing educational function of jury service.

Here is the link: Juror Bias

The Power of First Impressions

Rewired - Cognition in the Digital Age

Rewired - Association for Psychological Science

Monday, February 20, 2012

Priming during trial. What are the possiblities?

Don't you know that you want to trust me? Subliminal goal priming and persuasion

Jean-Baptiste Légal , Julien Chappé, Viviane Coiffard, Audrey Villard-Forest

University of Paris  Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France

We investigated the effect of goal priming on the processing of a persuasive message. Before reading a persuasive message about tap water consumption, participants were subliminally primed (or not) with the goal “to trust”. Subsequently, they completed a questionnaire about their perception of the message, the source of the message, and tap water consumption intentions. The results indicated that non-conscious activation of the goal “to trust” leads to a better evaluation of the message, increases behavioral intentions in accordance with the message, and positively influences the assessment of the source.

© 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

J.-B. Légal et al. / Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48 (2012) 358–360

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Eliciting empathy, is it important?

“I Help Because I Want to, Not Because You Tell Me to”: 

Empathy Increases Autonomously Motivated Helping


Empathetic arousal has been found to be a strong predictor of helping behavior. However, research has neglected the motivational mechanisms whereby empathetic concern elicits help giving. Three studies examined the extent to which autonomous and controlled motives for helping mediated the relationship between empathy and helping. Study 1 found that state empathy predicted willingness to offer time and money to help a person in need, with this relationship mediated by autonomous motivation for helping. Study 2 demonstrated that dispositional, empathetic concern predicted prosocial intentions and behavior via the mediation of autonomous motivation. Study 3 revealed that participants who focused on the emotions of another person in distress reported greater willingness to help than did participants who remained emotionally detached, with this effect mediated by autonomous motivation to help. Controlled motivation had no positive effects on helping in any of the studies. The results suggest that empathy encourages prosocial behavior by increasing autonomous motivation to help.

 2012 Feb 9

The emoticon on your face

The emoticon on your face

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A short, but interesting article about framing risk.

Every trial should be an expert in framing risk. Here is an article that explains how the same event can be framed  differently to change judgments. Choosing the frame carefully is critical to influencing judgments. Here is the link to the article. Framing risk.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jurors can be asked about CSI

Jurors can be asked about CSI

Easily embarrassed people are more altruistic.

Flustered and faithful: Embarrassment as a signal of prosociality.
By Feinberg, Matthew;Willer, Robb;Keltner, Dacher
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 102(1), Jan 2012, 81-97.
Although individuals experience embarrassment as an unpleasant, negative emotion, the authors argue that expressions of embarrassment serve vital social functions, signaling the embarrassed individual's prosociality and fostering trust. Extending past research on embarrassment as a nonverbal apology and appeasement gesture, the authors demonstrate that observers recognize the expression of embarrassment as a signal of prosociality and commitment to social relationships. In turn, observers respond with affiliative behaviors toward the signaler, including greater trust and desire to affiliate with the embarrassed individual. Five studies tested these hypotheses and ruled out alternative explanations. Study 1 demonstrated that individuals who are more embarrassable also reported greater prosociality and behaved more generously than their less embarrassable counterparts. Results of Studies 2–5 revealed that observers rated embarrassed targets as being more prosocial and less antisocial relative to targets who displayed either a different emotion or no emotion. In addition, observers were more willing to give resources and express a desire to affiliate with these targets, and these effects were mediated by perceptions of the targets as prosocial. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)