Jury Decision Making

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Mark Scheme


·         Individual processes (characteristics of defendant, pre trial publicity)

·         Group processes (group think, group polarization, majority/minority influence)

·         Story Models (e.g. Pennington and Hastie)


·         Methodological inadequacies of research (low ecological validity)

·         Criticisms of research assumptions (e.g. Assumption of decision making, incomplete and misleading evidence, thinking bias)

·         Mundane realism issues (e.g. magistrates)

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Majority Influence

·         Asch conformity studies

·         Normative social influence (the need to be liked)

·         Informational social influence (the need to be right)

·         Hastie et al (1983) 86% of the time the verdict given was the view of the majority prior to deliberation

·         Smith and Mackie (1995) majority influence is affective due to varied opinions, deeper discussion and greater confidence

·         Hinsz and Davis (1984) more varied opinions allowed a greater shift in ideas

·         Stasser and Stewart (1992) positive evaluation in deeper discussions made participants focus on shared information and exclude information which had not been shared

·         Myers and Kaplan (1976) group polarisation occurs in majority influence – risky shift

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Minority Influence

·         Nemeth (1977) minority influence is effective because it makes people question themselves

·         Moscovicci et al (1969) minority influence affects long deliberations if there is consistency

·         Deep convictions lead to internal attributions

·         Large minorities are far more affective – do they simply become a majority?

·         Nemeth and Brilmayer – a minority who will sway and accept others opinions are the most affective 

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·         Duncan (1976) black defendants were judged to be more violent

·         Pfeifer and Ogloff (1991) Black defendants were more likely to be convicted in **** charges

·         Baldwin and McConville (1979) black dependents were more likely to be wrongly convicted, not acquitted

·         Mazzella and Feingold (1994) ethnicity had no affect, only affects the type of punishment

·         Gordon et al (1994) black people were more likely to be convicted of burglary, white people more likely of fraud

·         Sommers and Kent – cultural bias’ are found in studies 

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Physical Attractiveness

·         Saladin et al (1988) halo affect – more attractive people are deemed to be less guilty

·         This has the strongest affect for women

·         Downs and Lyons (1991) there is a correlation between attractiveness and the sentences people are given

·         May be due to a publication bias

·         Abwender and Hough – only works with women jurors

·         A lot of contradictory evidence – more for burglary, less for fraud

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