Testimony That Sticks: The Art of Communicating Psychology and Neuropsychology to Juries

ISBN : 9780190467395

Karen Postal
488 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019


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Following on the success of Feedback That Sticks (Oxford, 2013), Karen Postal demonstrates, through the words of forensic experts, how to translate complex, highly technical neuropsychological and psychological information for jurors in a way that is engaging, understandable, and (to quote Faulkner) sets the truth on fire. Testimony That Sticks shares the fruits of four years of in-depth interviews with over 70 seasoned forensic neuropsychologists and psychologists, as well as attorneys and judges, presenting what experts actually say on the stand: how they use compelling analogies, metaphors, and succinct explanations of assessment processes and findings, as well as principles of productive expert testimony for direct and cross examination. This book allows readers to be a fly on the wall as seasoned forensic neuropsychologists and psychologists share what they actually say on the stand: their best strategies and techniques for communicating science to juries and other triers of fact. Readers also have access to the thoughts of attorneys and judges as they watch expert testimony and weigh in on what works and doesn't, and what they need from the forensic neuropsychology and psychology professions to create more productive testimony. At its heart, the book shows how academics can shed their academic communication style learned in years of scientific training that results in the inability to communicate clearly and simply about psychology and neuroscience. This landmark book is about shedding jargon, giving academics permission to allow emotion to creep back into their language, freeing up body language, and using vivid, clear, language to create moments of genuine, productive communication with jurors and other triers of fact.


Chapter 1: Disrupting our Academic Communication Style
Chapter 2: Setting the Truth on Fire: General Testifying Strategies
Chapter 3: Relationship with the Attorney
Chapter 4: Establishing Credentials and Credibility
Chapter 5: Relationship with the Jury
Chapter 6: Social Pragmatics
Chapter 7: Jargon
Chapter 8: Direct Examination
Chapter 9: Assessment Tools
Chapter 10: Visuals
Chapter 11: Performance and Symptom Validity
Chapter 12: Concussion
Chapter 13: Specific Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders
Chapter 14: Cognitive Development, Premorbid Function, and Intellectual Function
Chapter 15: Cross Examination
Chapter 16: Relationship with Other Experts
Chapter 17: Testifying in a Diverse World
Chapter 18: Depositions
Chapter 19: Preparation and Managing Anxiety
Chapter 20: Specific Testifying Situations
Chapter 21: Reports
Chapter 22: Statistics
Chapter 23: Training

About the author: 

Karen Postal is board certified in clinical neuropsychology and pediatric neuropsychology. She is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, and a past president of the Massachusetts Psychological Association and Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society. Dr. Postal is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School where she teaches postdoctoral fellows in neuropsychology. She also has a lifespan private practice dedicated to helping people think better in school, at work, and throughout later life. Her research focuses on helping clinicians and neuroscientists improve communication with patients and the general public.

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