The influence of forepersons and nonforepersons on mock jury decisions.

Foley, L. A., & Pigott, M. A. (1997). The influence of forepersons and nonforepersons on mock jury decisions. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 15, 5-17.

Examined whether forepersons were more influential than other members of mock juries in a civil trial. 87 university students (aged 17–47 yrs) and 103 jury eligible residents (aged 19–84 yrs) of the same state participated in the study in groups of 5–10 Ss. Ss filled out a demographic questionnaire and several other measures after which the experimenter showed them a picture of the plaintiff and played a taped description of the facts of a civil case and the jury instructions. Ss then individually made judgments regarding the case, and weighed the confidence of their individual decisions. Following the individual decision making process, Ss were asked to form a jury, select a foreperson, deliberate, and come to a consensus judgment. Results show that forepersons had significantly more influence on other jurors and were more confident in their decisions than nonforepersons. The most and least influential jurors were compared. Opinion leaders tended to be older, but did not differ in gender or marital status from low influencers. Opinion leaders thought the plaintiff was more responsible, but awarded the plaintiff more monetary damages than did low influencers. Forepersons do have a good deal of influence on jury decisions. However, other jury members also wield influence. Several two-way interactions between victim race, victim age, and juror type on responsibility and damages. No impact of juror attitudes on post-deliberation outcomes.