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Characteristics of Defendants

  • Pre-existing stereotype > criminal is 'tough', 'hard' & 'unattractive' 
  • 'Halo Effect' > 'What is beautiful is good' (Dion et al) 
  • Positive stereotype for attractive people > happy, truthful, intelligent


  • Showed 8 photos
  • Attractive men seen as less likely to commit either murder or armed robbery
  • Also treated more leniently when found guilty

Quigley et al > strongest with non-fatal crimes/female defendants, exception > when someone uses their attractiveness to commit the crime

Research issue > done with p's not jurors > no consequences

Downs & Lyons;

  • 1500 fines and bail payments of minor criminals
  • Asked police to rate on attractivenesss
  • Attrativeness -vely correlated with bail/fine imposed
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Majority Influence

Asch >

  • 75% conformity in unambiguous situation
  • However, juries need to deliberate, ambiguious scenario

Psychologists not just interested in whether people conform, but HOW majority makes them conform and WHY this influence is so strong

Smith & Mackie > why is majority influence so strong? (identified)

  • Arguments of majority are more numerous & varied; offer a perspective that might not have been considered > may lead minority to move towards the majority view
  • Majority views expressed more convincingly > more forthright & argumentative with majority onside > majority seen as more condident, logical and intelligent than the minority

Being viewed in this way may be a reason in itself as to why the majority can influence the minority

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Minority Influence

Idea that one or two members of the jury may be able to influence the others 

Moscovici > concluded that this is possible and that their succcess depends on behavioural style 

Behavioural style > if minority is consistent and flexible, their arguments relevant, they may eventually win over the majority

Nemeth > 

  • When majorities faced with a consistent minority, become puzzled
  • Try to work out why minority is so convinced > scrutiny may convince the majority

Therefore the minority could influence the majority but this is rarely the case


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Unanimous Juries

  • Not all juries have to be unanimous > in UK, majority of 10 to 2 is enough

In such cases;

  • Minorities may not get their view heard (not have the chance, want to get it over with)
  • Strasser & Stweart > majority opinions get discussed more

Psych believes when unanimous verdict not required > jurors less effective

Brehm & Kassim > 'breeds close-mindedness, inhibits discussion and leaves many jurors uncertain about decisions'

Hastie et al >

  • Looked at 69 mock juries of varying unanimous requirements
  • Majority juries > did not debate further than a majority, spent less time discussing the case
  • Jurous found to be less confident/satisfied with their descision
  • Majorities used forceful, bullying tactics to persaude those who disagree
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