Your expert is on the stand presenting her analysis of lost profits damages, or whether an unintelligible patent claim was infringed. As she's explaining the most difficult part, you look at the jury, and your heart sinks; no one is looking at her. They're contemplating the ceiling, studying the floor, looking away.
Don't lose heart. Maybe they're learning.
There are many reasons why one person looks away when another is talking, but one of them is learning. "A number of studies report ways in which adults switch off from environmental stimulation (both live faces and other sorts of visual displays) in order to concentrate on cognitive tasks," writes Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling in Scotland, in one of many papers she has written on this topic. Her current project, "Children's Eye Gaze: Associated Cognitive and Physiological States" was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, where many of her papers are collected, all in full-text .pdf.
"A positive sign"
The most recent conclusion of her research, explained in a press release this week, is that "gaze aversion" is often associated not simply with concentration, but with the moment of learning itself. Studying children, she found that subjects averted their eyes more often when material was new, difficult, or complicated. "That means that gaze aversion is a useful thing for teachers, care[give]rs and parents to know about," Doherty-Sneddon said in the press release. "A child who is doing it is likely to be developing their understanding," the press release continues.
So maybe you welcome the moment when the evidence gets complicated and jurors look away. If they never look back, though, you can probably go ahead and worry.
(Photo by Pσrcelαΐηgΐrl° at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkspleen/503225564/; license details there.)