Reaching a Verdict
Reaching a Verdict
When the evidence has been given in the courtroom, the jury retire into a locked room, where they are sworn to secrecy, to reach their verdict.
Evaluation Issue with the following research - As the jurors are sworn to secrecy, the researchers cannot find out what the actual process of reaching a real verdict is like, so they have to conduct mock trials/deliberations about trials etc. This means a lack of ecological validity in most trials into courtroom behaviour, and this means that it is less applicable to real life situations in court.
Hastie et al. (1983)
Hastie et al. 1983 - Stages and influences in decision-making.
Hastie suggests that the jury discussions go through this model:
Orientation period: - Relaxed and open discussion; Set the agenda; Raise questions and explore facts; Different opinions arise.
Open Confrontation: - Fierce debate; Focus on detail; Explore different interpretations; Pressure on minority to conform; Support for the group decision is estabilished.
Reconciliation: - Attempts to smooth over conflicts; Tension released through humour.
He applied findings from social-psychological research of group dynamics to the "jury" for his research. Evaluation Issue: It is a theory, so there is no imperical evidence to support his asssumptions.
Asch (1955) - The power of majority influence and conformity.
Asch investigated the effects of people conforming to a majority influence during an unambigious task.
Methodology: Lab experiment, where Asch arranged for a naive participant to be asked a question to which several stooges had already answered in front of them, both who had clearly given the wrong answer.
Results: He discovered that people conformed one out of three times (32%). It is suggested that there are two main reasons why we conform to majority influence; The need to belong to a group and the need to be right, which is why 32% of people ignored the clearly right answers and opted for the wrong answer.
Evaluation Issue - Unknown if extraneous variable were fully controlled, therefore they could have affected the results.