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Archive for the ‘Generation or Age of Juror’ Category

A new survey has come out that is the first to show us what cisgender kids think of their transgender peers.?

First a reminder of what cisgender is: it is simply the term used to describe someone who identifies with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.?

What do cisgender kids think about their transgender peers?

The survey was published in the Journal of Cognition and Development and explored “5- to 10-year-old children’s (N=113) preferences for transgender versus gender-“typical” peers who either shared their gender identity or did not”. The authors describe their results this way:?

“Children preferred cisgender peers over transgender peers; however, they also liked peers of their own gender rather than the other gender (e.g., female participants preferred girls over boys), demonstrating that the oft-documented own-gender bias plays an important role even when children are reasoning about transgender peers.”

A second interesting finding is that cisgender children who tended to categorize transgender children by their natal sex (that is, the gender assigned at birth) tended to like those children less. This finding mirrors the findings found in studies with adults and tells us children learn even subtle attitudes from adults around them.?

How many transgender kids are out there anyway?

An article recently uploaded in JAMA Pediatrics journal, tells us that about 1% of 9 or 10-year-old children self-identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender. And this was neither a small nor short-term study. The researchers used a two-year subset [2016-2017] of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study dataset which was collected over a 10 year period at multiple locations.?

A particularly unique aspect of this data set was that parents were also questioned on the sexual identity of their children. Nearly 7% of the parents thought their child might be gay and 1.2% said their child might be transgender.?

This is an unusually young age to have data from both children and their parents on sexual identity. The researchers are hoping they will learn (over time, by studying these children) how to help mitigate the higher levels of physical and mental health issues experienced by current-day gender and sexual minorities.?

And a voir dire tip: “What is your best guess of how many Americans are gay or lesbian?”

While Americans have grown more accepting of homosexuality in the past few decades, there are some odd quirks in that (seemingly) increased tolerance. One of them may be useful for us to consider during voir dire (and to test out during pretrial research). As it turns out, some Americans greatly over-estimate the percentage of the population that identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. As examples, in 1977, the average guess was between 10% and 19%. By 2013, the “best guess” had increased to about 23%.?

In 2018, Gallup reported 4.5% of the population self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.?

Here’s what makes it really interesting:?

Those who overestimate the proportion of gay/lesbian/bisexual Americans are also more likely to hold false beliefs about homosexuality and less likely to support gay-rights policies like employment protection, child adoption, and same-sex marriage.?

And these tendencies are strengthening with the politicization of this simple question: “What is your best guess of how many Americans are gay or lesbian?”

It’s a curious thing and somewhat counter-intuitive. Attitudes are more tolerant towards homosexuality in general—except when they are not. Could this be related to attitudes positive or negative for your case? We know one way to find out before trial.?

Selin Gülg?z, Eric M. Gomez, Madeleine R. DeMeules & Kristina R. Olson (2018). Children’s Evaluation and Categorization of Transgender Children. Journal of Cognition and Development, Volume 19(4).?

Jerel P.?Calzo,?PhD, MPH1; Aaron J.?Blashill,?PhD2 (2018). Research Letter: Child Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Cohort Study. JAMA Pediatrics,

Donald P. Haider-Markel , PhD & Mark R. Joslyn , PhD (2018). Not Threat, But Threatening: Potential Causes and Consequences of Gay Innumeracy. Journal of Homosexuality, Volume 65(11).?


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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 (a 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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Pew Research Center continually puts out well-researched and well-written reports on data generated by their surveys of the American public. They have a newer report out on how generational status is related to views of racial discrimination. Pew comments on the report this way:?

“Generational differences have long been a factor in U.S. politics. These divisions are now as wide as they have been in decades, with the potential to shape politics well into the future.

From immigration and race to foreign policy and the scope of government, two younger generations, Millennials and Gen Xers, stand apart from the two older cohorts, Baby Boomers and Silents. And on many issues, Millennials continue to have a distinct – and increasingly liberal – outlook.”

Reading these reports regularly is a good way to maintain awareness of shifting attitudes of your potential jurors. Pew thinks that, if Millennials and GenXers vote, they will influence politics “well into the future”. For some of us, this report will be reassuring and for others it will not.?

The report itself is full of information on the many issues American generations disagree on with younger Americans more supportive of immigration, more liberal, less religiously affiliated, more likely to be Democrat by self-report, more likely to prefer “bigger” government, more supportive of universal healthcare, and more supportive of social services for the needy. Yet, they are no more likely to be trusting of the government than other generations.?

If you choose juries, appear in court for trials, or need to keep up on changing norms—this report is a must-read piece.?

The Generation Gap in American Politics: Wide and growing divides in views of racial discrimination. Pew Research. March 1, 2018. ?

Image from report itself

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Gene editing is a scary thing for many people to think about and we’ve written about the general negative response Americans have about the practice before. Here are some of those blog posts (FYI—CRISPR is a gene editing technique that is often used interchangeably with “gene editing” even though it is simply a way of doing gene editing). But the public may be getting more comfortable with the idea.

A new Pew survey shows us that when it comes to protecting babies from genetic disease—a majority support the practice. 72% of survey respondents say it would be appropriate if gene editing was used to treat a serious disease or condition the baby would have at birth and 60% say another appropriate use of gene editing would be to reduce the risk of a serious disease that could occur over their lifetime. In contrast, fully 80% are against gene editing being used to make a baby more intelligent.?

As always, the finding are more nuanced that just blanket agreement. Pew points out that attitudes vary by religious commitment, gender, levels of science knowledge, and overall familiarity with gene editing. For example, highly religious people are more likely to think gene editing is taking medical technology too far—no matter what the reason may be.?

We’ve done a lot of high technology cases and have often found that a key to na?ve jurors investing emotionally in a case is their ability to relate it to something in their own lives or day-to-day experiences. This is another example of that sort of phenomenon. When your case involves high tech or advances that could be seen as sort of “sci-fi”—think of how they can be related to every day experiences. We’ve seen complex options of high tech apparatus compared to the options on your hamburger at a drive through, and heard jurors compare legal liability for software theft to teaching someone how to use a drill at a construction site and then being sued when that person asks for money to teach others the same skills.?

You need these esoteric case facts to become familiar and relatable for jurors. It is a creative challenge, but we’ve seen jurors give us examples that work repeatedly to normalize and make unfamiliar ideas relatable. It often helps to have a sample or prototype of the technology in question, so that jurors feel more like they “know” what “that thing” is and can touch it or handle it.?

Litigation advocacy is often about identifying what will make your high-level case facts more approachable for potential jurors.?

When you talk about the complexities of gene editing—relate it to genetic diseases and freeing a baby from suffering.?

If jurors aren’t familiar with a key aspect of the case, and they don’t see it as being relevant to their lives, they don’t ‘care’ about it as much. The challenge is to give them a basis for feeling that the outcome is important to more than just the parties—it is important to them and their neighbors.?

Public Views of Gene Editing for Babies Depend on How It Would Be Used. Pew Research Center. July 26, 2018.

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We have all suspected that the use of traditional news sources (like TV news programs) is declining and a new Pew Research survey (as well as our own pretrial research) shows that to be true. Here are a few of the latest Pew findings:?

Just 50% of US adults get their news regularly from television (down from 57% in early 2016).?

While local TV news has declined the most in viewership, it still has a larger audience than either network or cable TV news shows.?

There is a strong relationship between age and TV news habits. As you may have guessed, older adults are much more likely to get their news through all three TV platforms (i.e., local, network, and cable). Specifically, Pew says 49% of adults 65+ get their news from network TV, compared to 8% of those aged 18 to 29 years.?

Education and income also play a role—with higher educated/higher income respondents relying much less on local TV news (26%) and network TV news (21%) while those with only a high school education watch significantly more of both local TV news (47%) and network TV news (31%).

The Pew report also describes differences by race, gender, and partisan differences. We encourage you to dang ky nhan tien cuoc mien phireview the entire report as well as an earlier blog post of ours that asked a provocative question: Can you identify racial bias based on viewing patterns of local news programs? We still think it’s an intriguing question.?

From a litigation advocacy perspective, this knowledge is important.?

Is your potential juror watching more traditional news media that can be assessed for conservative vs. liberal vs. middle ground content? (See our blog post for a terrific series of infographics on assessing media political perspectives.)

Is your potential juror tracking news on Twitter? A recent study of 2,700,000,000 (yes, 2.7B) tweets showed us that the “echo chamber” description of some social media platforms (i.e., where you choose to ‘follow’ only those that share your perspectives) is certainly true on Twitter. Or are venire members using other social media platforms where there is also a belief that the echo chamber lives strong??

Or are they relying on social platforms like Reddit where fact and fiction are often mixed without moderation? “Breaking news alerts” from traditional media resources? Podcast news shows??

It seems difficult (if even possible) to ascertain which facts or distortions your jurors have been exposed to, but thorough analysis of the digital footprint of a person who uses social media a lot can give you an idea of what echo chamber they favor, and whether your case themes fit into their world view.

Pew Research. (January 5, 2018.) Fewer Americans rely on TV news; what type they watch varies by who they are.


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