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Reaching a verdict - Majority influence

Majority influence- influenced by group/social norm.
2 types: Normative Influence- conform to belong & gain social approval.
Informational Influence: conform due to uncertainty & desire to be correct.

123 male sudents, 7-9 in each trial
Line Test- choose line out of 3 which matches line on other card.
Confederates gave incorrect answers.

36.8% conformed to incorrect answer.
Some knew what was happening and conformed not to spoil results.

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Reaching a verdict - Minority Influence

Minority Influence: single induvidual influences group. E.g Martin Luther King
Causes genuine change of private personal opinion
CONSISTENCY- in message
FLEXIBLE- appear to listen to others opinions
COMMITMENT- must show commitment to belief
RELEVANT- must be relevent to what is happening to someone

Lab. 172 participants
Blue slides - different shades asked to say what colour
2 confederates gave green answer (wrong) 24 times and blue (right) 12 times.
2 conditions consistent and inconsistent.

32% conformed atleast once in consistent condition.
1.3% conformed in the inconsistent condition.

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Reaching a Verdict - Stages & Influence on decisio

3 stages of decision making: Orientation- dicuss, consider. Open confrontation: debate pressure to conform to group. Reconciliation: smooth conflict, release tension.

Risky Shift phenomena. 12 case studies.-eg, Mr D quitting stable job for risker one with higher pay. Rated how much risk they could tolerate, then put in groups and asked to reach a consensus. Eg. 1 in 10 chance of sucess -10 in 10 chance of success. 

Riskier decisions made in a group due to diffusion of responsibility.

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Witness Apeal - Attractiveness

Extranoues Variables can influence who we see as attractive  
Halo Affect: more attractive deemed more innocent or good.

Do we make judgements based on appearance.
Mock jurors read trial summary - secretery acussing employer of sexual harassment.
Shown photos of plaintiff (secretery) and defendent (employer) and asked to reach a verdict.
4 conditions:
- Both attractive
- Both unattractive
- Attractive Plaintiff, Unattractive Defendent
- Unattractive Plaintiff, Attractive Defendent

High % of guilty verdict except plaintiff unattractive, defendent attractive at 41%. 
Jury inferred less likely to be guilty if plaintiff unattractive- jurys make judgements based on appearence. 

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Witness Apeal- Witness Confidence

If confident witness testimony - deemed trustworthy and details seen as accurate. 

Penrod and Cutler
Undergraduates and experienced jurors.
Watch video trial for robbery- witness testified being 80% or 100% confident in identifying robber.
9 other variables in film- weapon focus, suspect in disguise.
Asked to  reach a verdict.

100% confidence condition 67% guilty verdict
80% confidence condition 60% guilty verdict. 

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Witness Apeal-Effect video/shield with children

Children giving evidence may be traumatic, reduce trauma - videotape/ protective shield.  

Ross et al
Effect on conviction if children give evidence in sexual abuse cases with shield/video.
Mock jury, 300 psychology students 
2 hour video mock trial- father accused of touching 10 yr old daughter in bath.
3 conditions:
-gave evidence directly in court
-protective shield
-video link

Study 1- watched whole trial
Study 2- stopped video after evidence

Study 1- Guilty verdict open court 51 % the highest percentage of guilty verdict
Study 2- open court evidence increased guilty verdict. 
Open court shows more emotion. 

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Persuading Jury- Order of testimony

Primary effect- remembering info heard 1st
Secondary effect- remembering info heard most recently 
Story order- Witness evidence arranged chronologically
Witness Order- Witnesses order chosen

Pennington and Hastie
Lab exp. 130 students. 
Tape of mock trial. 4 conditions
Defence - Story Order, Prosecution - Witness Order
Defence - Witness Order, Prosecution - Story Order
Both Witness Order/ Story Order
Asked to reach verdict and rate confidence in their verdict out of 5
Done out of sight of eachother.

When using both story or witness order equally persuasive
But when using story order in prosecustion the guilty verdict rose to 78% showing it is more persuasive. (in comparison story order in defence had a 31% guilty verdict)

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Persuading a Jury- Persuasion

Emotive language, proffesionalism, appearance and status aid persuasion
Reasoning skills- more credible as seem fair so also more trustworthy

Hovland & Janis - Yale model of communication

  • should have emotional appeal.
  • 2 sided if educatated recipiant one side if not.
  • Order in info considered (primary/Receny effect)


  • should be credible, knowledgable and attractive

Yale model suggests message is more persuasive when given in an informal setting.

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Persuading Jury-Effect evidence ruled inadmissable

Reactance theory- theory things become more desirable when less obtainable.
In court jury see this as more important.
Inadmissable evidence: phone tapping, hear say, drugs test without consent.

Mock jury from people previously on jury service.
Listened to tapes of previous trial - women injured to a careless male driver and deliberated.
Some were told driver was insured and some were told this was ruled inadmissable

When learned drivers insured, damage payment increased $4000
When told this info should be disregarded damage payment increased by $13,000

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