Hastie, R., Penrod, S.D. and Pennington, N. (1983) – Stages in Decision Making

Hastie, R., Penrod, S.D. and Pennington, N. (1983) Inside the Jury. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press

Background

This is the first study we will be looking at from the ‘reaching a verdict’ section of ‘reaching a verdict’, as part of your OCR A2 Forensic Psychology course. It is further categorised into ‘Stages in decision making.’

To make this study easier to remember, you can simple refer to it as ‘Hastie et al., 1983′

In this study we will consider how the jury reaches their verdict, specifically how the stages in the decision making process.

It is important to note that this is not a study, but it is a theory.

One of the biggest problems with studying the decision making process of juries is they cannot be observed by anyone outside the jury itself, so psychologists have to use alternate methods.

One of the concepts that can occur when people are involved in a group is something called Social Loafing. This is when individuals in the group are less likely to think for themselves, because they are in a group.

Stages Described in Decision Making

Orientation Period

  1. The jury engages in a relaxed and open discussion.
  2. The agenda is set.
  3. The members of the jury raise questions about the case and explore the facts.
  4. Different opinions start to rise in the group.

Open Confrontation

  1. The jury begins to engage in fierce debate.
  2. The jury begins to focus on the details in the case.
  3. Members will then begin to explore different possible interpretations of the facts.
  4. Pressure will be put on the minority group to conform to the views of the majority.
  5. Support for the group decision is established.

Reconciliation

  1. The jurors try to smooth over conflicts that have arisen.
  2. Tension is released through humour.

These stages were based upon studies with mock juries and is an assumption of the stages in decision making that all juries make.

Hastie et al (1983) Evaluation

– As nobody outside juries are allowed to see or ask about how the jury came to their decision, it is almost impossible to test the validity of this theory, nor can the predictive or ecological validity of this theory be tested.

– Juries are not trained, nor is it possible to train them, therefore the usefulness of this theory is very low, as it cannot be used to better help juries make decisions.

+ On the other hand, it is useful in understanding if juries use evidence-based decision making processes or if they use verdict-based decision making processes. It may also prove useful in understanding if individuals develop their own views to fit that of the group.

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References

Hastie, R., Penrod, S.D. and Pennington, N. (1983) Inside the Jury. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press

 

Further Reading

OCR A2 Psychology Student Unit Guide: Unit G543: Forensic Psychology (Student Unit Guides)

 

Summary
Article Name
Hastie, R., Penrod, S.D. and Pennington, N. (1983) - Stages in Decision Making
Description
'reaching a verdict', as part of your OCR A2 Forensic Psychology course. It is further categorised into 'Stages in decision making.'
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