Analysis of Conformity and Group Influence in Twelve Angry Men

912 Words May 14th, 2013 4 Pages
Analysis of Conformity and Group Influence in Twelve Angry Men

Introduction The film “Twelve Angry Men” directed by Sidney Lumet illustrates many social psychological principles. The tense, gripping storyline that takes place in the 1950s features a group of jurors who must decide unanimously whether a young man is guilty or innocent in the murder of his father. At the beginning, eleven of the twelve jurors voted guilty. Gradually, through some heated discussion, the jurors are swayed to a not-guilty verdict. Upon examination, the film highlights social psychology theories in areas of conformity and group influence.

Theories and Application
Conformity
Conformity, a change in one’s behaviour or belief to correspond with others
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Perhaps the power of the need to feel accepted is most evident in the character of juror number two, a rather meek and hesitant individual, who during several occasions of being confronted by more strong-willed or hostile jurors, displays quick retreat in his subtle opinions. Informative social influence is also apparent in “Twelve Angry Men”. Juror number twelve, a well-dressed, advertising businessman for “Rice Pops” exhibits a character that is easily-swayed by convincing arguments from both sides. He first changes his vote from guilty to not guilty after juror number five’s demonstration with the switchblade only to change his vote again after he is overwhelmed with “evidence that he is unable to arrange in order.” His inability to explain his reasons for his decisions to change his votes demonstrates the complication of the situation as well as his own feelings of incompetency (Myers, Spencer, & Jordan, 2009). Instead, juror number twelve relies on the arguments of other jurors and changes his votes according to the credibility of other’s judgments.
Group Influence There is no doubt that people are often susceptible to conformity. However, another closer look at “Twelve Angry Men” reveals more than just social influences. We continue to see how groupthink, group polarization, and minority influence influences

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