Groups and Aggression Assignment: 12 Angry Men
Groups and Aggression Assignment: 12 Angry Men
- Discuss patterns of persuasion, conformity, and minority influence witnessed in the film, providing specific examples.
Persuasion: Juror ten in offering to convince their colleagues on why they need to vote guilty. His persuasion is logical based on the understanding that racial slurs were used by the accused upon hearing of the case, which makes him guilty.
Conformity: The minority would want to conform to the public, as is the case in raising hands. Example lies in the way through which the jurors had preference of voting by raising hands but not by secret ballot (Rose, 2016). There are more people in the film who vote through raising of hands and fewer who vote through raising hands, which affirms that some people vote just because others are voting with their style of voting being premised on that which is preferred by the majority.
Minority Influence: The manner in which the minority jurors convince their majority fellows into voting not guilty. Majority of the jurors were in contentment that the accused was guilty. Some arguments were based on his background living in the slums while others focuses on the wording that he used, such as, “I’ll kill ya.” However, the final decision based on the rationality of the minority jurors who presented that the stereotypes used against the accused had no legal standing, thus, the vote for not guilty. The minority opinion instilled logic to the majority with the final ruling being not guilty. Juror 8 played the role of convincing the other jurors into believing that the claims were a fabrication, thus, the need to forge a not guilty vote. The decision later won in the case.
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Other social influences: The understanding by the jurors that their decisions are correct and their colleagues needed to agree with
them. Social stereotypes tend to be created based on the stereotypes that are built in the society. The initial majority view of the accused being guilty is premised on their collective and cultural belief that those born in the slums are often susceptible to committing crime.
- Analyze issues of stereotypes and prejudice observed while watching the jurors deliberate. There are many to choose from!
Example 1: The jurors perceived the children who grew in slums have having history in crime. The slums are often inhabited by the downtrodden in the society, who are often associated by the social ills that the society faces. Socially, there is an evident belief that majority of the criminals tend to live in shanties and slums, where they cannot be easily found by the authorities.
Example 2: From the beginning of the case, there is a general realization that the boy under prosecution is guilty. The earlier decision by the 11 jurors, save for juror 8, to affirm that the accused is guilty is based a stereotype that is premised on coercion and nonfactual claims such as the feeling that he could handle the jurors. Racial stereotypes guide such line of thought.
Example 3: Based on the account of the old man, there is an affirmation that the boy committing crime was based on a perception with no tangible proof (Adler, Rodman, & Du Pré, 2016).There is a general stereotype that since the boy is accused by old people, the elderly are least likely to lie while the young are often bound to wrong them. The argument is premised on the later realization that the old lady did not have clear eye sight.
Example 4: The stereotypes by the police against the slum boys led to them asking leading questions. The authorities often have a view that majority of the delinquents live in slums and there is a structured way of questioning that would lead an accused, based in the area where majority of the delinquents are found, to agree that they indeed committed the crime.
- In psychology, heuristics are simple, efficient rules which people often use to form judgments and make decisions. They are mental shortcuts that usually involve focusing on one aspect of a complex problem and ignoring others. Determine if there was evidence of cognitive heuristics and label it (e.g. availability, false consensus, social proof). Discuss where/how it occurred.
Heuristic 1: Ignorance of the female who had some marks in her eyes. The marks affirm that she has eye problems and additional poor vision. She relies on glasses to see and cannot make an accurate judgment regarding an observation owing to poor eyesight.
Heuristic 2: The ignorance of the knife used in the killings. The mental shortcut that led to the understanding that the region in which the accused hailed from was enough to convict him leads to the avoidance of the critical evidence pertinent to the case.
Heuristic 3: The use of limp by the old man, and its ignorance by the jurors. The jurors rely on the word of mouth of the seniors in their testimony without reconstructing the scene of the crime.
- Interpret the catalyst of change that resulted in the outcome of the film, based on your perceptions. How does this line up with some of the research in social psychology?
The catalyst of change is E. G. Marshall based on his use of information and rationality in affirming the old lady was not right in the issuance of rationale verdict since she has poor eyesight and could not effectively recollect events as they happened.
- Discuss if the group in the film demonstrate group polarization. Were they at risk for groupthink? Explain:
Group Polarization: Group polarization is evident in the argument between Lee Cobb and Henry Fonda, where Lee Cob affirm that “I’ll kill ya” by the boy meant that he would kill his father but does not want the same meaning to be used when he utters the same words. In the context, the decision by Cobb to interpret the boy’s word is extreme.
Group Think: There was group thinking amongst the jurors that affirmed to them that the decision that they made was correct and that the people who they were prosecuting were bad people whom they needed to prosecute.
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