Twelve Angry Men and GroupthinkName
Twelve Angry Men and Groupthink
Twelve Angry Men is a movie produced in 1957 by Orion-Nova Productions based on a story of a young man accused of killing his father and the involvement of the justice system in addressing this issue (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). The movie is aimed to show how a person can influence thoughts of a large group of other individuals and how their personalities can influence the behaviors of other group members (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). Different members in a group setting have a big impact and can influence other group members. This influence can be based on different opinions, morals, and personal behavior influences and one member can influence a large number of members in a group without their knowledge (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). Twelve angry men movie shows a groupthink situation and the effect different individuals can have on other members (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013).
Patterns of Persuasion, Conformity, and Minority Influence Seen In the Film
A pattern of persuasion is seen through the various efforts aimed to convince the jury to make a good decision relating to the case (Gilovich, Keltner, Chen, & Nisbett, 2015). This can be seen when the judge gives instructions to the jury aimed at persuading the jury to consider the evidence provided in relation to the law (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). Another aspect of persuasion is seen when a member of the jury who is a stockbroker changes his mind after being presented with reasons that influence his decision (Gilovich et al., 2015). Another juror also requested the other jurors to discuss the case for an hour before the decision of handing a death sentence to the accused boy (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013).
Conformity, which is a tendency for individuals to change their perceptions and opinions, is seen when 11 members make a decision and 1 member goes against all the other jury members to comply with the required standards (Gilovich et al., 2015). Conformity is also seen when Jack Warden, the baseball juror changed his mind and followed the majority as he wanted to go to the game (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). Jack Warden changed his vote after most jury members voted a not guilty vote. Joseph Sweeny observed how the people were voting since the initial voting was public indicating an influence to conform to the majority voting (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). However, the minority group influenced the other members to give a not guilty vote, which was not expected at the start of the session.
Analyze Issues of Prejudice Observed While Watching the Jurors Deliberate
The first judge to give his opinion stated that the accused if found of first degree murder will automatically receive a death sentence (Parks & Hughey, 2012). The accused who is an 18-year-old boy is accused of killing his father with a blade and eyewitness testimonies indicate a sufficient evidence to convict the boy (Parks & Hughey, 2012). Prejudice is observed on the hurry to give a sentence to the boy where one juror persuades the other jurors to take an hour to analyze the situation before making a decision. Juror 10 is also a bitter man and a racist, which is shown through his reaction on the accused (Parks & Hughey, 2012). His decision about the case is also seen when he argues that the kid deserves to be punished for what he did. The juror is opposed to more time to discuss the issue and argues that he cannot believe anything that the young boy says (Parks & Hughey, 2012).
Juror 10 pleas with the other juror to give the death sentence to the boy because of his innate nature and states that they are never good indicating biasness and prejudice against different individuals who are not like him (Parks & Hughey, 2012). Juror 10 also points the accused as a dangerous killer based on his appearance, which indicates his views on killer’s physical appearance showing prejudice against individuals with the same physical characteristics as the accused. He also blames the incident on individuals living on low socioeconomic areas where he argues that the kids there never listen (Parks ; Hughey, 2012).
There is evidence of cognitive heuristics in the twelve angry men movie, which is seen through the decision-making process about the fate of the young man who had been accused of killing his father (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). Cognitive heuristics were seen in the thinking process involved before raising an opinion and in the final voting where most decisions were made after a process of analysis and deep thought (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). At the beginning of the film, the assumption was that the young man was guilty but after a thorough scrutiny of the case, a different decision was made which was different from the expected results. Assumptions should not be involved in a decision-making process with serious consequences and as in this case, different opinions and information should be considered (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013).
Making a decision without much consideration and analysis can lead to errors in the decision-making process (Gilovich et al., 2015). After the jurors analyzed and considered all opinions, the final decision indicated that the man was not guilty. This process was a clear indication of the advantages of groupthink as the twelve jurors were subjected to come up with a unanimous decision, which was the best decision (Gilovich et al., 2015). The minority were pressured into agreeing with the majority’s vote. Groupthink can influence other members into in-depth thinking which the case in this movie was. Groupthink resulted to a change of thought of the twelve jurors (Gilovich et al., 2015).
Catalyst of Change That Resulted In the Outcome of the Film
Arriving at the unanimous decision of a not guilty verdict was not easy and the jury faced many challenges in the process, which included communication problems as well as problems in understanding each other (Drury, 2017). The original assumption was that the man was guilty and deserved a death sentence but as the process continued, juror members changed their thought to a not guilty verdict (Drury, 2017). This change was because of groupthink, which influenced other juror’s decisions who reanalyzed the situation once again. Communication also allowed members to persuade and convince other jury members to change their decisions (Gilovich et al., 2015).
The decision made by juror 8 of not sending the boy to jail without first reconsideration the case influenced the other juror’s decisions, which later changed to not guilty (Drury, 2017). Juror 8 tried to understand the situation by putting himself on the accused shoes where he was able to make a better decision, which influenced the other juror’s decisions about the case (Drury, 2017). Being open in groupthink is essential especially to aid a better understanding of a situation. Effective listening, which is a communication skill, also played a big part as a catalyst for change (Gilovich et al., 2015). Effective listening influences a person’s self-awareness, which was the case for the juror members who were persuaded through listening and that resulted to a better decision-making process (Gilovich et al., 2015).
The group in twelve angry men movie demonstrated group polarization which is seen when the group resulted in making a different decision after the discussion by the twelve jurors (Gilovich et al., 2015). Every jury expressed their opinions and thought which impacted the discussion and weakened the original decision of advocating for a guilty verdict (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013). The group was at a high risk to groupthink as members succumbed to pressure to conform and were persuaded to join the majority members (Gilovich et al., 2015). The members engaged in groupthink, which resulted to a better decision, which would rather be a negative decision if it had been based on one individual (Gilovich et al., 2015). The groupthink is displayed by the twelve jurors having different opinions as some were advocating for a guilty verdict while the others were advocating for a not guilty verdict and due to the great pressure to conform by the minority, many jurors changed their decisions (Boulanger-Mashberg, 2013).
Boulanger-Mashberg, A. (2013). Reginald rose’s twelve angry men: Vic: Insight Publications.
Drury, T. (2017). Twelve Troubled Jurors: Inspired by 12 angry men. S.l.: City Fiction.
Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., Chen, S., ; Nisbett, R. E. (2015). Social psychology. New York, NY: W.W. Norton Publishing.
Parks, G., ; Hughey, M. W. (2012). 12 angry men: True stories of being a black man in America today. New York: New Press.