Jury behavior as a function of the prestige of the foreman and the nature of his leadership.

Bevan, W., Albert, R. S., Loiseaux, P. R., Mayfield, P. N., & Wright, G. (1958). Jury behavior as a function of the prestige of the foreman and the nature of his leadership. Journal of Public Law, 7, 419-449.

2 experimental groups of 4 jury panels, each with high and low leader prestige and autocratic and democratic leadership respectively, were used in a mock court reconstruction of an accident case to test the extent to which the personality of the jury foreman influences jury decisions. Results indicate how influential situational and circumstantial factors can be in what is considered to be a completely rational activity. All 8 panels agreed on a verdict of negligence, but in 7 of the panels the foremen were able to change the opinions of the members as to what constituted equitable damage. The relationship between the averages of the individual estimates of equitable and awarded damages by each group suggests that such assessments are reached by pooling, consciously or otherwise, the individual estimate of the members.

No impact of confederate foreperson characteristics on jury liability verdicts, but all forepersons effective in increasing jury awards. <1>Low-prestige forepersons had more influence on damage awards than high-prestige forepersons. <2>Autocratic style had more influence than democratic style.

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1960-05598-001