Dr. Noelle Nelson

Who Has The Longer Attention Span? Your Jurors or A Goldfish?

–The average attention span of a human being in 2000: 12 seconds

–The average attention span of a human being in 2023: 8.25 seconds

–The average attention span of a goldfish: 9 seconds

Do I have your attention now?!

This is the unfortunate reality you are up against in the courtroom. A goldfish has a longer attention span than today’s average juror . . .

Our attention span has shortened as our world has become more complex, faster, more demanding, and more bite-sized. This is not a put-down of jurors or anyone else. It is simply a reality that is best dealt with, not avoided.

Short sentences, introducing a single idea in a single sentence, pausing between short paragraphs–these are techniques that will serve you well in assuring you retain juror attention.

Beyond that, use visuals. We have become a visually-obsessed society. We are geared to paying attention to visuals, rather than words. The good news is that when well-designed and executed, visuals can encapsulate lengthy explanations that the jurors can grasp in those critical 8 seconds, whereas the verbal explanation–albeit still necessary–may take hours to thoroughly present.

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