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We have blogged a few times here on the ways conservatives and liberals differ — in fact, for a while it seemed there was new research coming out about differences between those two groups routinely. But now we have another one—narcissism apparently shows up in different ways depending on whether you are liberal or conservative.?

The researchers were looking at the relationship between social narcissism and political behaviors and values. They surveyed 750 American adults (a nationally representative sample) between October 26 and November 1, 2016. They used the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (a measure commonly used in social sciences research) and found that, overall, levels of narcissism were about the same between liberals and conservatives. But when they looked at specific aspects of narcissism—there were differences between the two groups.?

Liberals were more exhibitionistic and conservatives were more entitled.?

For example, conservatives were more likely to agree with statements like, “I insist upon getting the respect that is due to me”.

Liberals were more likely to agree with statements like, “I get upset when people don’t notice how I look when I go out in public”.?

The researchers believe this finding means that “activation of one’s sense of entitlement appears to be related to moving an individual to the right. On the other hand, activation of one’s need to display their values is related to left leaning political positions”. However, they also say that the larger takeaway is that narcissism is part of all of us.?

It is tempting to view labels (liberal, conservative, narcissist, et cetera) as entities, as if the label means the same thing to two different conservatives, or that narcissism only takes a single form. But the research points out the fallacy of that view. As a psychologist, narcissism is an interesting concept to me. It takes healthy and unhealthy forms, it can be provoked during times of stress, and it can be less visible at other times. But everyone likes to have their ego gently stroked, if done properly. And that is playing to narcissism.

What this study suggests is that if you want to appeal to the narcissism of conservative jurors, include language that discusses issues around what justice demands in recognition for work and fairness.

With liberals, they want to be admired and to be seen as admirable, so they want to be credited with striving to make the world better and want recognition for their efforts.

This is a nuanced distinction, but the focus on looking past the label and considering how it will mean different things to different people is very worthwhile.

Peter K. Hatemi Zoltán Fazekas (2018). Narcissism and Political Orientations. American Journal of Political Science,


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As you probably know by now, we read a lot of articles for inclusion on this blog but also de-select many potentially worthy pieces because they just do not spark our imaginations. It’s time again for a collection of miscellany—articles that didn’t merit a full post but that we wanted to share because they are worthy tidbits.?

“I’m a scientist and I changed my mind about an earlier publication”

This is a controversy we have blogged about before (dang ky nhan tien cuoc mien phia number of times). Dana Carney did research with Amy Cuddy on power poses but later changed her mind as to whether the conclusions of the work were “real”. There was much argument in the academic community with some supporting Carney and others supporting Cuddy. But now—instead of bickering—here’s a real solution for scientists who have “changed their minds”.?

We are currently watching the work of the new site “Undark” ( Their tagline is “come into the undark” and they have just started a way for scientists to submit “loss of confidence” statements mainly focused on psychology studies, and with ground rules for submissions. The project is creatively named the Loss of Confidence Project. The author needs to take responsibility for the issues (since this is for publication and not for whistle-blowing), and the collective results will ultimately be published in an academic paper. You can read more about this program and other ways academics are expressing a change of heart here.

Can screen time increase moral awareness? Apparently, yes.

Here’s some work out of the University of Texas at Austin that culminated in the development of an open access “video-based behavioral ethics curriculum” that has been adopted by educational institutions around the world (that was fast—the press release was in mid-August, 2018!). The video was based on a two-year survey of 8,600 UT Austin undergraduates. Here is how the press release described the development of the video series:?

Before being exposed to the Ethics Unwrapped videos, more than half of the students surveyed reported a lack of confidence in their ability to identify, discuss, or apply ethics concepts such as conflict of interest, conformity bias and relativism. After viewing the videos, 88 percent reported feeling either “confident” or “very confident.” And 90 percent reported that watching the videos helped them better understand ethics concepts. [snip]

“Millennials and Gen Zers spend more than 50 percent of their waking time on screens,” said Cara Biasucci, creator and program director for Ethics Unwrapped. “This program meets them where they’re at, with a video format that appeals to their emotional and moral sense as well as the thinking part of their brain.”

And here is the page for the open access (i.e., free) video series entitled Ethics Unwrapped. This is likely a good example of where your visual evidence should go to attract and retain the attention of younger jurors.? ?

How we can predict trustworthy intentions and behavior in others

Here’s a new research article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers look at what makes people more or less trustworthy (which they say is a shift from the prior literature focus on what makes us more or less trusting). The researchers completed six separate studies and here is what they found.?

If you are high in guilt-proneness, you are more trustworthy than someone low in guilt-proneness. Specifically, those high in guilt-proneness feel a higher level of interpersonal responsibility when they are trusted by others and are less likely to exploit those who have trusted them.?

The authors conclude that guilt-prone individuals are good risks for us to trust and urge further research (because they have tenure to achieve). Here is a press release summarizing the work and here is an open access link currently available for the full text of the article.?

Levine, EE Bitterly, TB Cohen, TR, Schweitzer, ME (2018). Who is trustworthy? Predicting trustworthy intentions and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(3), 468-494.?


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We’ve all seen this finding before: men who communicate their ideas forcefully are seen as assertive and as having leadership qualities. Women who communicate their ideas forcefully are judged more harshly and negatively. What about hate speech on social media? Are women judged more harshly than men there??

Please. You really have to ask? Of course women are judged more harshly for hate speech on social media!?

And it doesn’t matter if you are a woman speaking hate or speaking what is called “counter [hate] speech” You are going to get blasted either way. This new article was published in the journal Sex Roles and is available open access here. The researchers asked male and female participants to read hate speech attributed to male and female authors and to identify which comments they would individually ‘flag’ to alert the moderators of an inappropriate comment in the online arena.?

Here is what the authors say about what participants in the research did when they encountered hate speech said to be written by women:

In the specific case of comments [women wrote that were] directed against women and sexual minorities, hate comments by female authors are perceived as an act of double deviance [since women are expected to be kind] and are therefore sanctioned more strictly than such hate comments by men.?

The researchers also found that women were equally critical of other women as were men (which we see often during litigation and in pretrial research—with women sometimes being even more critical of other women).?

And, as you might expect, when the researchers asked participants in their study what hate speech comments they would ‘flag’ to alert the moderators—both men and women would flag women’s hateful comments at a higher rate than they would flag similar hateful comments by men.?

However, both sexes equally judged hate comments by women and men differently resulting in a backlash effect against women indicated by higher scores of flagging a comment made by a woman than flagging a comment made by a man.?

As the authors review their findings they comment that gender shapes morality. They explain that conclusion by saying that women are more concerned about fairness and avoiding harm to others than men are (at least in online forums where both genders flag offensive comments). Deviant and agentic online behavior by women is judged more strictly than such behavior by men (and judged more strictly by both men and woman).?

The authors conclude with this intriguing comment that we would all do well to remember:?

Gender not only shapes people’s morality but, and even more relevant to our study, pre-determines what is seen as socially deviant and what is not. Regardless of the gender of the one evaluating the comment, intentions to flag hate speech and counter-speech comments increase if the commenter is a woman.

We work to identify bias and stereotypes wherever we can and it is always a part of litigation advocacy. From a litigation advocacy perspective, this study teaches an invaluable lesson:

Sometimes, it is easy to fail to recall that for women, racial or ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, and all others who are “different” for one reason or another—just being who they are elicits automatic bias and differential treatment.?

The task for the litigation advocate is to figure out how to make the out-group member more understood, and mitigate that automatic bias.?

Gendered Morality and Backlash Effects in Online Discussions: An Experimental Study on How Users Respond to Hate Speech Comments Against Women and Sexual Minorities by Claudia Wilhelm and Sven Joeckel in Sex Roles. Published May 7 2018.


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We like PSMag for their ability to summarize scientific research in clear language. Here’s an article written by Nathan Collins that offers some insights from a researcher who has ideas on how to get some people who are conspiracy theorists to consider another perspective.?

Apparently there is a growing body of research supporting the idea that we can take a direct approach to debunking conspiracy beliefs. Perhaps it is all the focus on “fake news” and the sheer numbers of people now fact-checking when they see a somewhat unbelievable story. Whatever has caused this to happen—it is good news for those of us who are unfortunate enough to find we have conspiracy fans on our juries. (We’ve blogged about conspiracy theorists a lot here and you might want to go read our collection for additional insights and recommendations.)

Here are two strategies Nathan Collins recommends to more effectively debunk conspiracy beliefs based on new research:

Make sure the debunking information you present comes from a reliable source—and remember—different people find different sources “reliable” or not. One of the researchers recommends you go with people who are speaking against their own interests since they are often are more credible.?

The question is asked about who you would find more credible if you listened to sources saying “don’t eat french fries”: McDonald’s or the Surgeon General?

Take a cue from late-night comedy “news” shows and use “contextual fact-checking”. This is a fancy term for a sidebar containing additional and accurate background information on a news story. This debunks without the speaker actually addressing it.?

Stephen Colbert used to do this brilliantly on The Colbert Report. Here’s an example.?

There are some intriguing additional details in this story and we encourage you to read the whole thing (it’s about three and a half pages long). Here’s the closing paragraph:?

Yet there remains some hope. Fact checking politicians might help keep them honest, Nyhan and frequent co-author Jason Reifler found in 2014—and fact checking is something news media is generally taking more seriously. Then there was the news on Monday that Apple, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify all but booted one of the most popular sources of conspiracies, Alex Jones, from their sites, suggesting that maybe something might start to change.

As another resource, the Poynter website has complied a list of eight different two-minute videos to teach people to identify “fake news”. You may find this useful to ponder as you consider debunking firmly held beliefs for your next trial.?

From a litigation advocacy perspective, there is always room for learning new strategies to attempt to mitigate powerful influences on juror-decision-makers. These two resources will give you several strategies to consider incorporating into your next trial.?

Collin, N. (August 8, 2018) How to tackle?conspiracy theories in politics. PSMag:


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We came across this study and thought it was a perfect example of how paying attention to gender balance in management can positively influence your corporate bottom line. And, this infographic summary communicates a LOT in a short period of time. So rather than writing it out for you, take a look at how one company has found out about the positive benefits of gender balance in management.?

We’ve written a lot about bias and the importance of maintaining an awareness of bias if you want to manage effectively. If you want to read more about Sodexo’s experience, take a look at the executive summary of their work on improving gender balance and how that decision resulted in positive impact on their bottom line.

Sodexo’s Gender Balance Study 2018: Expanded Outcomes Over 5 Years.


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