13 Group Decision Making

13 Group Decision Making - Study Question # 4 Juries in...

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Study Question # 4 – Juries in criminal trials must reach a unanimous decision about the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Use what you learned in class today and from the text to explore how each of the group processes below would impact the quality of decisions made by juries. For instance, would it contribute better or worse decisions ? Would it help or hinder the jury in reaching a verdict ? Majority Influence, Minority Influence, Group Polarization. I) Majority Influence: there is a majority in a group when a majority of its members share the same opinion before discussing their opinions within the group. In jury cases it would be the opinion of whether or not the defendant is guilty. a. If these people, the majority of whom hold the same opinion, get together to discuss the trial as a group there would end up being a lot of pressure and influence forced upon everyone to agree with this majority opinion. b. Those who do not already hold the majority opinion will probably be influenced in sharing that opinion by: i.Informational Influence: 1. Since the majority of the group members hold an opinion that opinion is going to end up getting more air time in the group than any other opinion. Not only will everyone get more time to hear about it and hear about it from more people, which would seem to give more legitimacy to the argument, but everyone would also hear more sides of the same argument, different ways that the opinion is right. All of this information given to one opinion over others would probably make that opinion seem more convincing than others. ii.Normative Influence: 1. Once the majority members find out that most of the people in the group share their opinion they will probably all join together and come down hard on those who don’t. This means using social pressures to all dissenters change their opinion to that held by the majority. This can be done making it apparent that the reward of group acceptance and the punishment of negative evaluation and group ostracism are based upon agreeing with the majority opinion. If dissenters still don’t budge then the group would probably just exclude them from the discussion and generally ostracize them. Lastly, if that does not change dissenter’s view the group could make use of their power in numbers and just take a vote, which, in effect, would null any minority opinions. This last step, of course, could not be done if the jury had to arrive at a unanimous decision, but if that were the
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PSC 3080 taught by Professor Mccreary during the Fall '05 term at CSU Stanislaus.

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13 Group Decision Making - Study Question # 4 Juries in...

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