Reaching a verdict: Reaching a verdict

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Hastie et al

Stages and influences on decision making 

1. Orientation period: 

  • Relaxed and open disucssion 
  • Set the agenda 
  • Raise questions and explore facts 

2. Open confrontation: 

  • Fierce debate 
  • Focus on detail 
  • Explore different interpretations 
  • Pressure on minority to conform 
  • Support for the group decision established 

3. Reconciliation 

  • Attempts to smooth over conflicts 
  • Tension released through humour 
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Asch: The power of majority influence and conformi

Aim: To investigate the effects of conformity to majority when the task is unambiguous 

Method: Laboratory experiment 

Procedure: Asch arranged for naive participants to be asked a question to which several stooges of the experiment had already given clearly the wrong answer. The question was which of the three lines matches the stimulus line? Asch wanted to see if the decision ws crystal clear would an individual defer and answer in the same way or with the majority

Results: -Asch found that individuals conformed in 1/3 occassions - This is a robust finding but when one stooge in the group was told to disrupt the conformity (not select the same answer) the conformity fell to 5% - Majorities bigger than three make very little difference to conformity effect

Discussion: Reasons for conformity: 1) The need to belong to a group (benefits those who have low self-esteem or confidence) 2) The need to be right (this occurs in ambigous situations where as jury decisions are unambiguous)  

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Nemeth and Wachtler

Investigation of the influence of perceived autonomy on minority influences 

Aim: To investigate the influence of percieved autonomy (choosing where to sit at a table) and consistency on minority influences 

Method: Lab experiment of mock trial Participants: Groups of five participants (one stooge) drwan from an adult sample of students 

Procedure: The group of five have to deliberate on the amount of compensation due for a victim of an injury. After hearing the facts, everyone made an individual verdict and is then taken to another room where there is a rectangular table with two seats at ether of the long sides of the table and one at the head. In half the groups the p's were to sit at the table the stooge chose to sit at the head of the table. In the other groups the experimentor tells them where to sit. During the discussion the stooge adpots a deviant postions, suggesting a figure of $3000 comparied to $10,000-$25,000. 

Results: -The stooge exerts influences when he is consistent and whn is percieved as autonomous, becaus he has chosen his seat, whereas when the seated by the experimentor he has little influence - When he has been influential, this effect continues into a second case - When he sits at the head of the table he is seen as more consitent and confient.

Conclusions: If you choose where to sit you are seen as more autonomous and if you sit at the head of the table you are seen as more confident  

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