The Effects of Perceived Authority on the Decision-Making Process of Mock Jurors
37 Pages Posted: 12 May 2017
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
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