Order effects in multiple decisions by groups: A demonstrations with mock juries and trial procedures.

Davis, J. H., Tindale, R. S., Nagao, D. H., Hinsz, V. B., & Robertson, B. (1984). Order effects in multiple decisions by groups: A demonstrations with mock juries and trial procedures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1003-1012.

Assessed the effects of the order in which groups undertake different tasks in a multitask situation, using mock juries. 461 undergraduates watched a videotaped enactment of a criminal trial involving 3 joined charges and then, either individually or as members of 6-person groups, decided on the guilt or innocence of the defendant on all 3 charges in 1 of 3 orders: descending seriousness, ascending seriousness, or no specified order. On the charge of medium seriousness, the proportion of convictions for both individuals and groups was greater in the descending seriousness order. Conviction on earlier charges significantly increased the relative frequency of conviction on later charges. Findings are discussed in relation both to earlier results that support a contrast explanation of such order effects and to the influence of task order on group decision processes in general.

Order of charge consideration and verdict on prior charge influenced charge conviction rates but not SDS. Highest conviction rate for most serious charge (reckless homicide). More convictions on “middle” charge (i.e., aggravated battery) when charges deliberated in descending order of seriousness. Conviction on previous charge increased conviction probability on subsequent charges.

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