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Emotional Scripts and Courtroom Demeanour

Emotional Scripts and Courtroom Demeanour Emotional Scripts and Courtroom Demeanour: The Role of Science and Folk Knowledge in Evaluating Credibility Susan A. Bandes Centennial Professor of Law Emeritus, DePaul University College of Law Much emphasis is placed by common law systems on the observation of courtroom demeanour in assessing the credibility of a witness. Demeanour is viewed as a window into the soul, and a highly reliable way to determine credibility. Credibility, in turn, is viewed as an all-or-nothing proposition: either a witness is credible or not. However, this simplistic view of credibility ignores the powerful role of emotional scripts in assessments of believability, and skates over a number of important issues. For instance, what does genuine remorse look like? What emotions does a true crime victim display? To what extent do variables like race, gender or social class affect expectations about appropriate emotional displays? This talk will draw from emotion theory to shed light on how fact-finders can and should evaluate courtroom credibility. Professor Susan Bandes is a scholar in the areas of federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure and civil rights, and a pioneer in the field of Law and Emotion. Her legal career began in 1976 at the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender. In 1980, she became staff counsel for the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated a broad spectrum of civil rights cases. She joined the DePaul faculty in 1984 and was named Centennial Distinguished Professor in 2012. She has written over 60 articles, which appear in, among others, the Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago and Michigan law reviews, as well as peer-reviewed journals including Law and Social Inquiry, the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and the Law and Society Review. Her book The Passions of Law was published by NYU Press in January 2000. She is a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a founder of the Collaborative Research Network on Emotion and the Law.

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