Justice not blind to gender bias

June 25, 2018, Arizona State University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a quiet courtroom, an attorney steps up to a lectern to deliver a closing argument. The defendant in the case is charged with murder, having stabbed a woman to death in front of her infant child.

"He beat her in the face," the says, pounding a fist on the lectern, voice rising. After killing the victim, the defendant "ran from the apartment, and left behind one-year-old Kendall, alone with his mother's body."

The case and closing argument were real. The attorney was acting. In total, six attorneys with trial experience—three men and three women—performed identical reenactments of the closing argument for a psychology study at Arizona State University. The study shows gender bias skews the way people perceive an attorney's effectiveness when expressing anger.

According to the study "Closing with Emotion: The Differential Impact of Male versus Female Attorneys Expressing Anger in Court," published June 25 in the journal Law and Human Behavior, male and female test viewers found the angry male attorneys to be commanding, powerful, competent and hirable. They found angry female attorneys to be shrill, hysterical, grating and ineffective.

"A good attorney is expected to show traditionally male characteristics in court—anger, aggression, power. But what's happening is that men benefit from this, while we are penalizing women for showing these same characteristics," said Jessica Salerno, an ASU psychology professor and lead researcher on the study. "We watch so many courtroom dramas where lawyers are expressing emotion, and there are fireworks in the courtroom. People expect attorneys to express themselves this way. This expectation sets men up well for success, but for women it backfires."

Past studies have established that showing emotion in various situations hurts women while at the same time benefits men. However, these past studies are set in situations where emotion is unexpected, such as a business meeting.

Salerno and her team, which included Hannah J. Phalen, ASU doctoral candidate, Rosa Reyes, ASU graduate student, and Nicholas J. Schweitzer, an associate professor in ASU's School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, wanted to arrange a situation where emotion was expected.

In this instance, an attorney delivering a closing argument in a gruesome murder case. So, the research team gathered nearly 700 participants to watch videos of the actors delivering the closing argument. Participants shared their impressions of the attorneys, and whether or not they would hire them.

"We asked the participants how angry they thought the actors were," Salerno said. "Participants felt the men and women were similarly angry. But unfortunately, we did replicate the results found in other studies. The angry men were found to be more effective, and viewers wanted to hire them. This backfired for women. People thought the angry women were less effective, and they wanted to hire them less."

Additionally, and men felt the same way, which Salerno said shows that this bias is operating at an implicit level.

"We all grow up in the same culture," she said. "We are exposed to the same gender stereotypes. In the long term, this means that female attorneys may not be able to demonstrate the conviction and power people expect from men. This has unfortunate long-term implications for their careers and effectiveness with juries."

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julianpenrod
1 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2018
More garbage. And of the same old type.
Talking about an "expectation". Where did this "expectation" come from? Did someone write a book about how attorneys should be in court and make sure that everyone read it before they were born so they came into this world thinking attorneys should be that way?
Or could it be that, for many if not most women, the way they argue a subject, even a true subject, is not so compelling?
But, then, note, depending on histrionics is a sure sign of a non existent case! A legitimate case argues itself. An old saying in law school is, "If the evidence is weak, pound the evidence; if the evidence is strong, pound the police; if the evidence and police are correct, pound the table". Is this article promoting the idea of manipulated juries?
rrwillsj
not rated yet Jun 25, 2018
In other words, many people expect,insist, that Big Daddy to be an abusive asshole.

While many people expect, insist that Big Momma be nurturing and forgiving.

Does help to explain why so many voters (especially the russians) were so fearful of Hilary Clinton. And remain supportive of Donald Trump no matter how odious his criminal activities.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2018
jp, if you had ever served on a jury? It is fascinating to watch all the illusionist tricks the attorneys get up to with the verbal sparring and trick phrasing.

After you are released (not before!) from jury duty. Write down your impressions of what you remember experiencing in that courtroom.

Afterwards, check out the public trial record, newspaper reports, etc. And compare those to the information provided to the jury.

It will be a big surprise when you realize how much info was withheld. And that evidence and testimony presented? Deliberately slanted to feed what the lawyers perceived as your subconscious prejudices.

The lawyers get paid to win. Justice has nothing to do with Morality.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jun 25, 2018
It will be a big surprise when you realize how much info was withheld. And that evidence and testimony presented? Deliberately slanted to feed what the lawyers perceived as your subconscious prejudices
-Kind of describes your posting styles doesnt it? Along with worthless flowery prose poetry and outright fabrications, misrepresentations, and lies.

And unlike lawyers, you dont (cant) even get paid for it.

The opportunity to deceive - priceless for the psychopath.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2018
Now oddlygimli, you promised to stop following me about like an attention seeking five years old.

"Daddy's busy, go see if mommy will respond any better to your tantrum."

Right above the Add Your Comment is the ignore button. Go on, if a monkey can do it so can you otto.

Give you a banana! Oh you need me to peel it for you? Jeez, even a monkey knows how to peel a banana.

Okay okay! Stop whining kid, here yah go.

I'm just too damn nice to you. Your getting spoiled crawling after me all the time.

TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jun 26, 2018
Otto is like the george Zimmerman of physorg.
434a
not rated yet Jun 26, 2018
Or could it be that, for many if not most women, the way they argue a subject, even a true subject, is not so compelling?


performed identical reenactments of the closing argument for a psychology study at Arizona State University.


I think we'll find the word identical is only part of the article you didn't bother to read when you wrote you're oh so predictable sexist rant..

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