“Perception and Expert Biases – Analyzing Testimony and Critiquing Opinions"
Lunch & Learn - Live Webinar
August 6th - 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Register Today!

This OACTA Webinar is brought to you by Exponent!

Join Suzy Smyth, Ph.D., P.E., CFI, CVFI, and Christy Cloninger, Ph.D., as they discuss how biases affect witness testimony and expert investigations with a focus on critiquing expert methodology using the concepts of expectation and confirmation bias. Witness testimony may conflict with physical evidence, other witnesses, and past testimony. We will discuss the science of witness perception and memory as well as present a framework for systematically addressing contradictions. Experts may also be subject to biases affecting their investigative methodologies. We will discuss expectation and confirmation biases, their appearance in standards (such as NFPA 921), and their use in critiquing expert opinions.


 Dr. Cloninger specializes in the study of visual and auditory sensation and perception. She has a background in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience investigating human motor behavior, motion processing and sensory perception using eye-tracking, behavioral measurements, and computational methods. She currently applies her expertise to investigate human factors in transportation accidents, warning compliance, as well as slips, trips and falls.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Cloninger completed her graduate studies at the University of Rochester, where she studied sensory neuroscience. Her work there examined auditory motion processing in humans, using eye and head movement tracking as behavioral outputs of auditory perception. She has extensive experience in human subject research, experimental design, and data analysis, including teaching and communicating complex scientific topics to a wide variety of audiences.

Dr. Smyth specializes in the investigation and prevention of fires and explosions in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. Dr. Smyth has conducted scientific fire and explosion cause and origin analyses involving heavy machinery, consumer appliances, on and off highway vehicles, commercial kitchen equipment, and industrial machinery. She has investigated incidents in the agricultural, transportation, construction, milling, mining, and other chemical and food processing industries. Her mechanical engineering background includes an emphasis on heat transfer and fluid mechanics with experience in these fields both experimentally and relative to numerical simulation.

Dr. Smyth has experience with materials flammability testing, forced failure testing, gaseous emission sampling and analysis, laser diagnostics, and theoretical analyses involving heat transfer and fluid mechanics. She has experience with computational fluid mechanics (CFD) software including PHAST, FLUENT, and Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS).

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Smyth spent two years as an engineering consultant investigating fires, explosions, and other fluid and thermal related projects. As a graduate student, her research in the Combustion Physics Laboratory involved the study of small-scale catalytically reacting flows of methane and propane. Dr. Smyth has also served as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate laboratory courses in heat transfer and fluid dynamics. Additionally, she has experience in the production and testing of biodiesel.

CLE Credit:
This webinar is approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education for 1.0 general hour of live, interactive webinar credit. CLE credit will be submitted to the Supreme Court of Ohio by the OACTA office.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education is allowing live, interactive webinar credit to be used to fulfill up to 24 hours of the CLE requirements.

To fulfill CLE requirements for a live, interactive webinar program, you must register for the program, join the meeting; and complete the evaluation with the verification code at the end of the program.

This webinar is approved by the Kentucky Bar Association for 1.0 general hour of live, interactive webinar credit.
OACTA Members - Free 
Non-members (if requesting CLE credit) - $25.00
Non-members will receive an invoice for $25 for participating in the webinar. CLE credit will not be submitted until payment is received by the OACTA office.