To sum up, the movie was a touching, thought-provoking story about how you shouldn’t judge things hastily, but also how you shouldn’t conform to other people if you don’t think their ideas through for yourself.
Conformity is a change in one’s opinion or behaviour provoked by peer pressure. There are three types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance. Internalisation is the deepest type when you go along with the group’s ideas because you honestly believe in them. Identification is when you value the group, therefore you act like them, but you don’t necessarily believe in everything they do. The most shallow type of conformity is compliance – when you agree with the group while being monitored and observed, but disagree when the group is not around and you are in private.
You can conform to others because of two types of influence: informational social influence and normative one. Informational social influence means conforming to others because you believe they are right. The size of the group tells you that they probably aren’t wrong and you are motivated to be right as well. Normative social influence is when you conform to the group because you want to be liked and accepted.
The jury’s decision in the film was definitely influenced by informational social influence because the bigger the group of “not guilty” was getting, the more jurors started questioning the evidence and testimonies and the faster it happened. There wasn’t a lot of normative social influence and it’s really important in a situation like this because you can’t make a decision regarding someone’s life based on your need to be liked.
Other factors that could influence jury’s opinions were their own backgrounds. Freud would probably say that the third juror strongly projected his own emotions from the relationship with his son onto the situation and how the defendant should be perceived – as an ungrateful young boy. The ninth juror on the contrary tried to keep an open mind about everything – he was clearly the oldest out of all of them, so he probably knew that there is always more to what the eye sees and he accepted there should be space for doubts. Furthermore, the way they were raised, their history and current situation was a factor there – the fifth juror grew up in a slum and it was easier for him to believe the boy was not guilty, it was easier to predict how the defendant would have behaved. On the other hand, the tenth juror was so biased against boys growing up in slums and threw a tantrum so big that the others refused to speak with him for some time.
The film had a lot going on. It showed that such important decisions can’t be made in such a short time because there’s bound to be errors.
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