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8 Law & Psychol. Rev. 83 (1984)
Nonverbal Communication in the Courtroom: Attorney Beware

handle is hein.journals/lpsyr8 and id is 85 raw text is: Nonverbal Communication in the Courtroom:
Attorney Beware
Elizabeth A. LeVan*
I. Introduction
The attorney's purpose in a jury trial is to persuade the jury to
find in favor of her client. In her attempt to persuade, the attorney
employs different strategies to influence the jury. She relies on her
verbal talents by utilizing logical arguments, case law, evidentiary
rules, and the facts of each case. However, another aspect of the
trial should draw the attention of the lawyer: she should be aware
of and learn to control the effects of nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is a broad term encompassing
many different elements. It includes facial expressions,1 gestures,2
kinesics (body movement),' proxemics (studies of distance),
touching,5 smell,6 and paralanguage (vocal variations in pitch,
speech rate, and loudness).7
In the courtroom, nonverbal communication subtly affects the
entire proceedings of a trial. It is constantly present and being as-
serted, yet the attorney is often unaware of its existence. Gestures
and facial expressions are transmitted and observed by every indi-
vidual in the courtroom. The attorney in her opening statement
uses gestures and eye contact to persuade the jury. The judge si-
lently communicates her feelings about the case to the jury
through her posture and facial expressions. The client unwittingly
sends messages to the jury through his general appearance and the
clothing he wears. A witness on the stand, under the scrutiny of
* Ms. LeVan is a member of the senior editorial board of the Law and Psy-
chology Review and is a student at The University of Alabama School of Law.
1. Ekman & Friesen, Detecting Deception From the Body or Face, 29 J. PER-
SONALITY & Soc. PSYCHOLOGY 288 (1974).
2. S. FELDMAN, MANNERISMS OF SPEECH AND GESTURES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
(1959).
3. R. BIRDWHISTELL, KINESICS AND CONTEXT (1970).
4. Albert & Dabbs, Physical Distance and Persuasion, 15 J. PERSONALITY &
SOC. PSYCHOLOGY 265 (1970); Kleck, Interaction Distance and Non-verbal Agree-
ing Responses, 9 BRIT. J. Soc. & CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY 180 (1970).
5. A. MONTAGU, TOUCHING: THE HUMAN SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SKIN (1971).
6. W. GORMAN, FLAVOR, TASTE AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SMELL (1964).
7. Apple, Streeter & Krauss, Effects of Pitch and Speech Rate on Personal
Attributions, 37 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOLOGY 715 (1979).

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