“Recipe for a jury” revisited: A balance theory prediction.

Fischoff, S. (1979). “Recipe for a jury” revisited: A balance theory prediction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9, 335-349.

This study examined the relationship of three variables to verdict confidence in an experimental simulation of the jury deliberation process. The three variables were: sex of juror, verdict (guilty or innocent), and the similarity or dissimilarity between juror and confederate verdicts (congruence or incongruence). The subjects were 35 male and 37 female college students. They deliberated in groups containing a male confederate who role-played an obnoxious anti-White or anti-Black juror. Results indicated that before deliberation, male and guilt verdict jurors were more confident than females and innocent verdict jurors. After deliberation, however, sex differences in verdict confidence were absent while innocent verdicts jurors were more confident than guilt verdict jurors. Most important, as predicted from Heider’s Balance Theory, males who deliberated with a confederate whose verdict was congruent with theirs’ became less confident in their verdicts. Unexpectedly, females became more confident. The study’s major hypothesis, then, that it may be advantageous for the defense to accept a juror who zealously advocates a guilty verdict, was only supported for males. Involved racist confederate. Men and those preferring guilt were more confident of their preferences before deliberation. Deliberation produced leniency shift and eliminated difference in confidence as a function of gender.