Jury Decision Making

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Asch in 1955 found that 75% of participants would follow the incorrect majority at least once when judging the lengths of lines. Conformity was high when the majority was 3 or more. While this study suggests that members of a jury may be influenced by other members of the jury, this study has low ecological validity as it isn't a study of real jurors and they wouldn't usually have to make these sorts of decisions. Sith and Mackie (1995) reasoned why we conform to majority influence: Varied opinions - the majority can express their opinions in a variety of ways. There arguments are more numerous and are more compelling since they are supported by others. Another reason why we conform to the majority influence is 'deeper discussions' - ideas expressed by the majority will be discussed for longer than those held by a single individual. Another reason is 'greater confidence' knowing others share their opinions gives members of the majoirty more confdence and more if they are forceful, increasingg the likelihood of converting others.

Another influence on decision mkaing of juries is that sometimes a minorty can influence the opinions of a group. Moscovic et al (1969) carried out an investigation looking into whether the minority influenced the majority. He firstly showed groups of 6 particpants blue and green slides and watched how they judged them. 2 of the 6 were confederates whose influence wa assessed in two conditions: the consistent condition (confederates called the slides green  on all trials) and the inconsistent condition (confederates called the slides green on 2/3 of the trials). The consistent confederates…


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