Justice at risk! An evaluation of a pseudoscientific analysis of a witness’ nonverbal behavior in the courtroom.

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining me in this presentation.

I begin by providing a background of the article I critiqued. My critique was based on Denault and Jupe, (2018) article, Justice at risk! An evaluation of a pseudoscientific analysis of a witness’ nonverbal behavior in the courtroom. The authors presented nonverbal behavior to be a critical part of any form of communication. Nonverbal behavior is an important communication tool because it significantly improves the ability of a person to engage, establish, and relate to meaningful interactions. In their presentation, Denault and Jupe, (2018) mention the consequences of nonverbal communication to include the creation of stereotypes and biases unique to people who speak the same language. They then link these outcomes in communication to the courtroom and by extension the justice system. The article explains that nonverbal communications are dangerous because of how they leave basic interpretation of intention and message to another party. Overall, courtroom decisions are affected by nonverbal communication because they may be used to show the credibility of a witness.

There are several methodological gaps and limitations to the article. For example, the authors mention the use of synergology in the courtroom as a way of utilizing knowledge on nonverbal communication, yet there is no scientific reference of such studies or their effectiveness in the determination of a witness or suspect’s intention in communication. The definition of terms is somewhat lacking, but the authors contribute positively to the understanding of these concepts by offering key examples and their applications to the courtroom. A notable limitation is that the authors only focus on the use of nonverbal behavior in a courtroom and fail to mention how it also applies in other legal processes. Nonetheless, the authors are careful to provide a review of extant literature on several matters, adding credibility to their argument, for example by using evidence from experts on matters such as court biases, nonverbal cues, behavior detrimental to court processes, and other current analysis of nonverbal communication. The article is also very current and uses materials from the last decade to draw conclusions on how nonverbal communication affects courtroom processes. Overall, the article is specific to its purpose and is professionally presented making it easier to understand the technical terms involved.

Thank you for your time. I will take any questions that you may have on the article or any parts that need clarification.