Dateline: October, 2006, Issue 1

Do jurors pay attention to a judge’s nonverbal behavior?

Some judges are highly nonverbally involved in a trial, while other judges exhibit minimal levels of nonverbal involvement.

In a recent study by Burnett and Badzinski (2005), jurors were found to be aware of nonverbal cues from judges, particularly negative behaviors.  Interestingly, jurors made about the same number of comments about both highly and minimally involved judges, though more negative comments were made when a judge displayed low, as opposed to high, nonverbal involvement.

In sum, jurors are most aware of a judge’s lack of involvement and apparent bias.

Source Burnett, A. & Badzinski, D. M., (2005).  Judge Nonverbal Communication on Trial: Do Mock Trial Jurors Notice? Journal of Communication, 55, pp. 209-224.