Decision Making of Juries

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A jury..
of 12 jurors, is summoned to the Crown Court to decided whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. There are many factors which influence this decision
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Majority Influence
Where a larger number of people influence the decision of a smaller number of people. If the larger group think something is correct, maybe it really is correct, so the minority conform to reduce uncomfortable and anxious feelings.
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Asch
"prepared to conform to a group opinion in a non-ambiguous situation", even though they disagreed, to not seem deviant, suggesting this could occur when decisions are being made, causing concern for the judical system as true judgements aren't known
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Hastie et al
found that the final verdict reflected the view held by the majority prior to deliberation, 86% if the final decision was innocent, 90% if it was guilty.
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Two ways the majority affect decisions..
Deutsch and Gerard = normative social influence (desire to be liked/fit in) and informative social influence (desire to be right). Smith & Mackie= majority give their opinion, larger number of varied arguments, more confident, deeper discussions
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Hins and Davis
Groups with differing numbers of arguments = the more varied the opinions, the greater the shift in opinion
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Kerr et al
knowing most people were on their side made group members more forthright and argumentative, supporting the greater confidence concept
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Group Polarisation
where group decisions become more extreme than the average of members at the outset, following group interaction. If majority favour one side of the argument, discussion will lead to the group agreeing more strongly with this.
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Myers and Kaplan
decisions became more lenient or harsh after discussion, but this did not occur if cases weren’t discussed (no opportunity for majority influence to take place)
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Minority Influence
Nemeth states that minority influence is more powerful than majority influence as it can make the majority question their own opinion, and undermines the consensus.
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Moscovici
Asch emphasised majority too much, if minority stick to consistent arguments it causes majority to question their views, ending with majority being persuaded, but need to be consistent over time & willing to discuss why they disagree & not be rigid
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Minority has less of an impact
In the UK a jury doesn’t have to be unanimous for a conviction – a majority agreement would suffice.
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The characteristics of the defendant
Physical attractiveness and ethnicity. Stereotypes that criminals have a certain unattractive facial appearance. Attractive people are seen as happy, intelligent and truthful individuals not capable of being criminals (the halo effect)
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Saladin et al
unattractive men=more likely to commit crimes such as murder/armed robbery, attractive people=more likely to be given lenient sentences when guilty. Using attractiveness for own gain (e.g. fraud) jurors would penalise them for it.
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Stewart
Correlation between attractiveness of a defendant and punishment given. Least attractive defendants were dealt the most severe punishments, more attractive defendants were given lighter sentences.
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Disadvantages of a correlation
There could be other variables such as the type of crime that could have affected this research as a correlation only shows a relationship between two variables and not that one causes the other.
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Ethnicity & Duncan
Links to prejudice and racial stereotyping. Duncan found that participants judged a shove by a black individual as more violent than by a white individual, which supports the concept of ethnicity influencing jurors.
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Gordon et al
Found black burglars were given longer sentences than white ones but the reverse for fraud.
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Mazzella and Feingold
contradicts the influence of ethnicity in jury decisions, found no effect of ethnicity on mock jury decisions of guilt or innocence. However, they did find that recommended punishment was affected.
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Limitations
mock juries, evidence on paper, not a real courtroom, questions ecological validity of research as they are artificial. Students, or opportunity sample, unrepresentative and bias (ethnocentric) research.
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However...
Some research that has looked at the outcomes of real trials, looking at the relationship between the characteristics of the defendant and the composition of the jury.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Where a larger number of people influence the decision of a smaller number of people. If the larger group think something is correct, maybe it really is correct, so the minority conform to reduce uncomfortable and anxious feelings.

Back

Majority Influence

Card 3

Front

"prepared to conform to a group opinion in a non-ambiguous situation", even though they disagreed, to not seem deviant, suggesting this could occur when decisions are being made, causing concern for the judical system as true judgements aren't known

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

found that the final verdict reflected the view held by the majority prior to deliberation, 86% if the final decision was innocent, 90% if it was guilty.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Deutsch and Gerard = normative social influence (desire to be liked/fit in) and informative social influence (desire to be right). Smith & Mackie= majority give their opinion, larger number of varied arguments, more confident, deeper discussions

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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