12 Angry Men-Social Psych Review

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One Belligerent Room
There are few examples of group dynamics as complete and realistic as the film "Twelve Angry Men". Recently I was required to view this film and had at first great reservations about its value as an educational tool, but soon after the opening credits rolled by and the deliberations began to take place I was caught up in the story. This film was not only entertaining, but it also serves as a great example of many of the theories and aspects of social psychology. Including too many concepts to name, the film touched on several very important theories: process loss in group decisions, groupthink, the fatal attribution error (FAE), normative social influence, and social norms.

One of the first concepts to be seen in the film was process loss in group decisions. Process loss is any part of group functioning that will inhibit good problem solving. This will occur when a group follows the leadership of one of its lesser informed members, much like the group of men following the leadership of the head juror; although he was not the most qualified member of the group he was in charge of explaining their duties to the others. It could also be argued that the most active jurors for prosecution were less qualified leaders as well. As quickly as one man could say it was an open and shut case all the other jurors had followed his lead and agreed. Another cause of process loss seen in the movie was the failure to share relevant information. For the opening stage of deliberations Mr. Davis says nothing of the doubts and theories he has on why the boy is innocent; the other jurors share the information that leads them to believe he is guilty and all come to the conclusion that he should be convicted. This is much like what happened in the 1985 study conducted by Stasser and Titus where shared facts on a candidate's qualifications led the voters to find that candidate more appealing than when they had several differing facts on his...
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