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Renee L. Danser, D. James Greiner, Elizabeth Guo et al., Remote Testimonial Fact-Finding, in Legal Tech and the Future of Civil Justice (David Freeman Engstrom ed., 2023).

Abstract: Should the justice system sustain remote operations in a post-pandemic world? Commentators are skeptical, particularly regarding online jury trials. Some of this skepticism stems from empirical concerns. This paper explores two oft-expressed concerns for sustaining remote jury trials: first, that using video as a communication medium will dehumanize parties to a case, reducing the human connection from in-person interactions and making way for less humane decision-making; and second, that video trials will diminish the ability of jurors to detect witness deception or mistake. Our review of relevant literature suggests that both concerns are likely misplaced. Although there is reason to exercise caution and to include strong evaluation with any migration online, available research suggests that video will neither materially affect juror perceptions of parties nor alter the jurors’ (nearly nonexistent) ability to discern truthful from deceptive or mistaken testimony. On the first point, the most credible studies from the most analogous situations suggest video interactions cause little or no effect on human decisions. On the second point, a well-developed body of social science research shows a consensus that human detection accuracy is only slightly above chance levels, and that such accuracy is the same whether the interaction is in person or virtual.