Group discussion and the influence of defendant characteristics in a simulated jury setting.

Izzett, R. R., & Leginski, W. (1974). Group discussion and the influence of defendant characteristics in a simulated jury setting. The Journal of Social Psychology, 93, 271-279.

Groups of Ss ranging in size from four to six read the Landy and Aronson (3) case concerning negligent automobile homicide. Each S within each group received an identical version of the case involving either an attractive or unattractive defendant. Ss were asked individually to sentence the defendant after reading the case. Then each S was asked to make public his sentence to fellow group members, as well as a brief statement of the reasons for his sentence. Following this, all 5s were asked to discuss the case. After discussing the case, each S then rendered a postdiscussion sentence. Results indicate that (a) prior to group discussion Ss in the unattractive defendant treatment sentenced the defendant to a significantly longer prison term than Ss in the attractive defendant treatment; (b) after group discussion there was a significant shift toward leniency in the unattractive defendant treatment, while no significant change in the attractive defendant treatment; and (c) the postdiscussion sentences of Ss in the unattractive defendant treatment did not significantly differ from those in the attractive defendant treatment. Predeliberation bias against unattractive defendant reduced, but not eliminated, by deliberation. Juror sentences more lenient after discussion.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.1974.9923161#.Vax2eet-8fE