Modern Psychological Studies
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Understanding what factors affect conformity in jury deliberations is an essential part of understanding the decision making process of reaching a verdict. This study manipulated three variables in a case summary: race salience (not salient vs. salient), defendant race (Black vs. White), and task difficulty (easy vs. difficult). The study used a mock deliberation paradigm based on Kassin, Smith, & Tulloch (1990). Participants read a case summary and provided a verdict with a short explanation. After doing so, participants read notes containing the verdicts and explanations of 5 other fictitious participants. Participants' verdicts were always in the minority. After viewing the decisions of the other participants, the participants were asked to write down a second verdict. In total, there were three rounds of deliberations. Conformity was assessed by number of people who changed their vote in each condition. The participants in this study were college students (N=125). The primary hypothesis was that when the task was unimportant (i.e., the defendant is White), conformity would be equal for the easy and difficult tasks. However, when the task was important (i.e., the defendant is Black), conformity should be higher for the difficult task versus the easy task. This pattern was predicted when race was not salient. The same pattern was predicted for the race salient conditions, however it was anticipated that the effect of task difficulty when the defendant was Black would be amplified. Results provided information about how legally relevant and extralegal variables interact to affect conformity. Aversive racism theories are discussed in the context of the results.
BF1 .M63 v. 13 no. 1 2007
Poggio, Allegra Giorgia and Douglass, Amy Bradfield
"The impact of task difficulty, defendant's race, and race salience on conformity in mock jury deliberations,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 13:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol13/iss1/2