Reaching a Verdict

Reaching a verdict, ocr psychology studies subsection three of C. forensic psychology. 

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Stages of Decision Making; Hastie et al.

This is a theory based on group dynamics. credibility - how believable or reliable is someone. implications - how the affect you in later life. 

When making a unanimous decision jurors go through the following stages. 

1 - ORIENTATION PERIOD - relaxed open discussion where the agenda is set. raising questions and exploring facts. different opinions arise here. 

2 - OPEN CONFRONTATION - fierce debate where there is focus on detail. different interpretations are explored and there is pressure to conform. support group decision is established. 

3 - RECONCILIATION - there are attempts to smooth over conflicts. tension is released through humour. the decision is accepted. 

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Majority Influence; Asch.

social influence - influence of a group or individual to modify the thinking attitudes/behaviour of others. majority influence - describes how in a jury a persons attitudes or behaviours change as a result of unspoken pressure from others in the group. making the minority vote the same instead of what they think. 

Aim; Effects of conformity in unambiguous situations. 

Method; Lab exp. with 123 students. Procedure; arranged naive participants to be asked a question to which several stooges of the exp had already given clearly wrong answers. line matches. interested to see even if crystal clear does an individual conform to the majority? 

Results; 32% conformed. conformity dropped 5% if confederate gave another answer or if it had to be written down. 

Conclusion; Is a tendancy to conform to a clearly wrong judgements. 

why do we conform? normative influence - need for acceptance by others. informative influence - need to be right when behaviours of others is thought to be based on more accurate information. 

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Majority Influence; Asch.


There may be a problem with ecological validity as the experiment took place in a lab, controlled environment so this will lower the overall validity of this experiment. 

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Minority Influence; Nemeth & Wachtler.

Minority influence - in a group situation like a jury the minority influences the final verdict in a trial of the majority. minority = 1-5 / 12. 

Aim; Investigate influenced perceived autonomy (ability to be independent - chossing where to sit) and consistency on a minority influence. 

Method; Lab exp. - mock trial. groups of 5 and 1 was a stooge. 

Procedure; deliberating compensation. they gave an individual verdict to start with so they knew who was agreeing to see the effect of the minority. after were taken into a room with a rectangle table with 5 chairs one as head of table. X2 conditions at table. 1 - p's asked to sit and stooge was at top. 2 - p's told where to sit stooge was at the top. X4 conditions. 1 - autonomy/consistent 2 - autonomy/inconsistent 3 - told/consistent 4 - told/inconsistent. deliberated case with stooge adopting deviant position. 

Results; 1 - higher influence if consistent as acting independently head at table confident too. perceived automoney matters. 2 - had influence when consistent not as much when told. 

Conclusion; If minority acts independently puts forward consistently majority the influenced. 

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Minority Influence; Nemeth & Wachtler.


There may be issues with ecological validity as it is in a controlled environment. Also on a jury there is more than 5 people so the minority on that would be very different to that of just 5 people. meaning overall validity would be lowered through this too. 

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