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Compare and contrast the effect of minority and majority influence on juror decision making (15 marks)

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the effect of minority and majority influence on juror decision making (15 marks) According to a social psychologist Le Bon, people become irrational and primitive in large groups and irrationality spreads like contagion. Jenness (1931) backed up Le Bon's ideas when he asked participants to estimate the number of beans in a big jar and conformity was first introduced by showing some participants a fake estimate of previous estimates. People tend to shift their estimates closer to those in the list as participants couldn't easily tell how many beans were in the jar, so picking a number close to the other estimates seems a sensible strategy. Asch's study (1955) investigated the effects of conformity to a majority when the task is ambiguous. The task was to determine which out of A, B, C matches the line X. Asch arranged for na�ve participants to be asked a question to which several stooges had already given the wrong answer. ...read more.

Middle

Moscovici identified four main factors which is important to have an influence over a majority. These are behavioural style, style of thinking, flexibility and identification. In his experiment in (1969), he re-run the Asch's experiment but only this time in reversed. He got groups of 6 participants with four na�ve participants and two stooges. It was a colour perception test with three conditions; first with stooges declaring all slides green, second where two thirds of the slides where declared green and the third one with a completely inconsistent choices. He found that 32 percent conformed only in the first condition. Moscovici believes that it is the consistency of the minority is persuasive. Consistency creates an impression of certainty and confidence. Its uncompromising attitude induces everyone else to take it seriously. Moreover, Nemeth and Wachtler (1983) applied Moscovici's study in mock juries. She wanted to see the influence of perceived autonomy and consistency on minority. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nevertheless, it's more realistic than Moscovici's study about the colour of spots. In a real jury rooms the jurors typically sit in a long table, her study raises the question whether this seating arrangement might give too much influence to one juror. I think that seating arrangement doesn't necessarily have direct influence on the jurors. It will have to depend on how big the numbers of jurors are, if it was a long table then the one seating in the head of table might not necessarily affect the jurors seating at the other end of the table. However, I agree that if the minority is consistent with their choices and decision it can impact on the other juror's decision. In conclusion, majority influence would have more effect on jurors decision making because there are a larger number of people who have the same opinion, therefore you'd more likely to internalise your views to their views. Minority influence works if the minority can provide information which backs up their opinion and if the other people defect to the minority opinion. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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