The Effects of Perceived Authority on the Decision-Making Process of Mock Jurors

37 Pages Posted: 12 May 2017  

Daniel Clay

Elmira College

Date Written: May 11, 2017


The jury is one of the most important decision making small groups in the United States; however, little is known about how juries render decisions and what may potentially impact their decision making process. Of the few studies that have specifically addressed the jury decision making process, most have employed procedures that are less than realistic and even fewer have focused on the role of the foreperson in influencing the opinions of other jurors. In the present study, in order to determine the foreperson’s impact in a more realistic setting, 33 mock jurors viewed a simulated trial, completed a pre-deliberation vote, deliberated under a confederate foreperson who employed various attitudes (positive, negative, and neutral) towards the defendant, completed a post-deliberation vote, and completed a post-deliberation questionnaire. A Chi-Square analysis revealed that the attitude of the foreman had a direct statistically significant impact on the post-deliberation decisions of the other jury members. A Chi-Square analysis also revealed that the attitude exhibited by the jury foreman has a marginally significant impact on who jurors identify as being the most persuasive member of the jury during deliberations.

Keywords: jury, decision-making, foreman, attitude, influence, small group, authority

Suggested Citation

Clay, Daniel, The Effects of Perceived Authority on the Decision-Making Process of Mock Jurors (May 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Clay (Contact Author)

Elmira College ( email )

United States
6077351928 (Phone)


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