Unit 5: Assignment
One of the most bewildering findings of social psychology is that people working in groups often make worse decisions than people working individually. This finding is even more disturbing when we realize that the American legal system relies on the power of group decision-making (e.g., juries) for determining the guilt or innocence of people on trial. This unit, your task is to examine the influence of the group in jury deliberations. If you have served on a jury, you may use your own experience as a basis for the analysis; if you have not served on a jury:
- Watch the video clip “Twelve Angry Men (Links to an external site.)”
- Read the 12 Angry Men (Links to an external site.) movie review.
Use this example as the basis of your analysis.
Reflecting on your jury experience (or the jury experience depicted in “Twelve Angry Men”), answer the following questions:
- What social conditions influenced the decision-making process? Explain the impact of each.
- Were the pressures for group harmony implicit or explicit?
- How did groupthink influence the situation?
- How is minority influence used to change majority opinion?
- Is group decision-making more or less efficient than individual decision-making?
- Is group decision-making more or less accurate than individual decision-making?
- How can we change the social circumstances surrounding jury deliberations to reduce the influence of group dynamics?