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The Film 12 Angry Men Review

A group is the interaction of two or more independent people, usually working together to achieve a goal. This group consists of “12 angry men,” put together as a jury. Their goal to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Since these men did not choose to be put together, and had no prior association with one another before placement into this selected group, various contrasting personalities that both support and clash are working toward this goal of finding the defendant unanimously guilty or not guilty as a final verdict for the court.

Such contrasts of personality creates a conflicting atmosphere in the courtroom.

Such dynamic interactions are what makes the group development interesting. Group Development & Problems Throughout the movie a group development occurs where jurors question their vote due to the persuasion of other group members as new ways of looking at the facts or emotions of the case are analyzed amongst the group or by inner, silent thinking of the individual jurors.

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Group development is the changes that occur in the group from first meeting to coming up with an unanimous verdict (the conclusion). Much emotion and development of thinking occurs as time proceeds and the juror’s individual thinking is challenged.

This is the development of what will create a final, more thought out decision of the group. Character & Roles Roles are the titles that distinguish members of a group from one another. All members of this group are jury members. Although each jury member has an equal role not all jury members are created equal.

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This inequality is based on character’s perceptions and attraction(likes and dislikes) for other each other due to the other character’s personality. An example is that the meek, quiet guy is disliked because he seems nervous, lacking the assertiveness the group sees as a norm of how jury members should be.

So jury members see him as an insignificant jury member due to his personality. Roles come into the film such as the designated foreman (jury member 1) specifically. Based on characterization, you can label personalities such as “the meek,” “the old man, “the baseball fanatic,” etc. This gives a name to who the individual is. This description is apart from the goals of the group, but should be considered because these personalities are influential to how characters choose to vote. The meek man is easily persuaded. The old man is calm and logical and the baseball fanatic wants to “just get out of there” because there is a baseball game.

Further than we can expand on the personalities of characters by dividing similar groups into the blue collar jurors vs. white color jurors. The white collar group tend to be more analytic about their decisions; whereas, the blue collar workers tend to be more argumentative with a lack of analysis on the subject matter. These characters we see have motives and backgrounds that will influence their arguments for the vote of guilty or not guilty and in turn act as a role of a persuader to other jury members of contrasting or similar personalities.

Depending upon the perceiver and their character they will be persuaded or not persuaded. Socio-emotional vs. Task vs. Individual Roles Roles can also be divided into three types of interactions based on the communicating style of the individual group member. Socio-emotional roles are those in which the person is consider with the emotions of other group members and mediating them to achieve favorable or peaceful interactions in the group. I did not see a juror that was concerned with emotions to the extent this role would require to mediate other jurors emotions and thus keep the group cohesively working together.

The meek man seems emotionally but he is not assertive enough to speak strongly and bind together the rest of the jurors into caring about other jurors’ emotions. Since the movie lacks a juror that clearly or even somewhat takes the task of the socio-emotional role, this may be why the group has a lot of conflict in reaching their unanimous, group decision. Task roles are those in which in the person is concerned with the task at hand and how it will be executed (and not emotions of individuals). Their job is to get the job done efficiently and well done.

The foreman, juror 1, who sits at the front of the table, taking votes and mediating the procedures would be considered the juror most concerned with the task orientation of the group. For the most part, he speaks without emotion toward wither side and typically talks about proceeding with votes, and does not typically get into the emotion aspect of the trail. Socio-emotional roles and task roles are important for the group to achieve getting the job done and keeping individual members happy. Another role exists independently called the Individual role. This role may or may not occur in a group.

The Individual role is the person who does not really care about other s but rather only themselves in the group. The baseball fan should be considered the person who follows the individual role. He does not seems to care about listening to facts about the defendant. He sees it the jury process as a “waste of time” when he could be doing something he enjoys, watching baseball. Group Norms & Expectations Group norms are expectations or standards of activities and behaviors that should or should not occur in the group. The group expects to deliver an unanimous vote of guilty or not guilty to the defendant.

Time of debate is a problem for this group. Some members expect an immediate decision, such as the baseball player who wants to get to his game, and others expect a more thought out decision. Since a sentencing of guilty would send the defendant to the electric chair, some jurors feel that a longer than immediate debate should be pursued. So, varying individual expectations of group norms creates a conflict of expectations for the group as to how it will proceed with finding the goal of the verdict. Every individual cannot be pleased as to how the proceedings will go, how long they will take, etc.

We see this when jurors that want to get out of “there,” the court become frustrated because what they expect (leaving) is not quickly what they get (staying longer to discuss the case). Sociometry & the Sociogram Sociometry is a measurement technique that summarizes graphically and mathematically patterns of intermeber relations. An example is the attraction or liking principle in groups. The sociogram is the graphical representation of the patterns of intermember relations created through sociometry. An example of this is a graphical representation of who likes whom within the jury in 12 Angry Men.

It shows who is least liked to who is most liked. Also, cliches may occur, which are a group that likes each other the most and are more similar or share more homophily than the overall large group. The cliches are the blue collars as one cliche and the white collars as another cliche. They share a similarity of a working class bracket that is more similar in lifestyle to each other that helps them relate to one another which is considered homophily, than as a whole as jurors, to which they are more different from each other. Below is a depiction of what can be analyzed of a sociogram of this jury group:

SOCIOGRAM Blue Collars…… like……. Blue Collars White Collars….. like….. White Collars Reject…. Meek Man(he is not liked by anyone and thus not listened to… not influential) Most Respected… (so maybe most liked)…. the old man…. (some blue and some white collars like him) Social Influence: conformity Social influence is interpersonal processes that change the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of another person. In the movie, 12 Angry Men, the jurors who think the defendant is guilty are trying to persuade or change the feelings of the jurors who think he is not guilty.

They are using social influence to try and change their minds. To be more specific, we consider different types of social influence. These types include concepts about conformity, majority influence, and minority influence. Conformity is a change in behavior or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressure. The first preliminary vote by the jury yields an 11 to 1 vote in favor of guilty. Why was this? Was this because most of the jury members thought he was guilty from the beginning, and people who were undecided felt they should vote guilty because of imagined group pressure?

Most of the jurors when asked why they voted the way they did said; they were just “sure he was guilty”, or because “the evidence points right to him. ” This may be true for some of the jurors, but most, perhaps unconsciously, felt pressure to conform to what others were saying. Juror number 8 is the one and only juror that voted not guilty. Henry Fonda plays juror number 8 in the movie. He is in his middle 30’s, average size, short dark hair, and is an architect. Juror number 8 felt all the other jurors voted guilty without even thinking about their decisions, juror #8 suggested that they talk about it before jumping to conclusions.

Even when some of the other jurors got mad and started yelling at him, he stayed calm and tried to work things out in a mature fashion. When asked if he thought the boy was guilty or not guilty, he said, “I don’t know. ” This shows that he had not decided one way or the other. When asked why he voted this way, he replied, ” It’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first. ” This shows that he wanted to talk things over with the other jurors before he makes a decision. He wasn’t going to conform to the group so easy. Social Influence: minority influence

This is a case of a minority influence going up against the majority influence. Juror number 8 was not sure the boy was guilty, so he decided to go against the majority opinion, and thus not conform to group pressures. Juror number 8 is a minority among the jury. He wanted to go over the murder and all the evidence again before changing his vote. Most of the jurors said they just felt he was guilty based on the fact the a woman across the street said she saw the murder and the old man, who lived above the apartment that the murder took place, said he made it to the door just in time to see the murderer running down the stairs.

Both witnesses identified the defendant as the murderer. Juror #8 brought up possible flaws in each of these as they were stated. For example, he questioned whether the woman could really see the murderer through a passing train in the middle of the night. Juror #8 didn’t deny that the woman might have seen the murder and murderer, but thought it might be good to go back over the evidence and make sure they were sending the right man to death. Once the jury went around the table, juror #8 said he would change his vote to guilty if no one changed their vote to not guilty.

There was one juror that changed his vote. Juror #9 changed his vote giving Juror #8 more time to talk about the case. Juror #9 said, “He gambled for support and I gave it to him. I want to hear more. ” By convincing one person to change their vote, it forced everybody to listen to more arguments, and possibly change their thinking on the case. There means now there is some social support for juror #8. Social support is defined as emotional support, advice, guidance, and tangible assistance given to others when they experience stress, daily hassles, and more significant life crises.

Obviously this was stressful situation and if he had no one back him up, juror #8 would probably fail in his attempt to influence the majority. It’s a lot easier to try and influence a majority when you are not alone in the fight, there needs to be social support. Now that there is some social support, juror number 8 feels a little less pressure and is now able to continue with his argument. Juror #8 re-enacted scenes from the night of the murder in order to prove his points. The first time Juror #8 re-enacted a scene was when he proves that the old man could not have walked from his bedroom to the hallway in fifteen seconds.

He did this by measuring how far his bedroom was from he hallway, and then walking it himself. It took him thirty-one seconds, making it impossible for the old man to have made it in fifteen, like he testified. By doing this re-enactment, he changed the minds of several other jurors. The minority influence had finally started to have success. Tactics for a successful minority To have success as a minority, as juror #8 appeared to have, a number of tactics must be used in order to influence a majority.

These tactics include challenging the majority norm, having consistency, being patient, have rigidity, and bring about divergent thinking. First and foremost, the minority must challenge the majority opinion. If you don’t stand up and challenge the majority you will never be heard. When juror #8 votes not guilty he has challenged the majority. The second step is to have a consistent message. In this case juror #8 says he is uncertain the defendant is guilty and wants to go over the evidence again, and he’s not changing his vote until they do so. He wants the majority to convince him the defendants guilty.

With consistency comes patience. The minority must give it time for their message to be heard and for any influence to occur. Juror #8 is going to stay and talk about the evidence as long as it takes. He is going to stay until the majority changes his mind, or until the minority changes their mind. The minority wants to be consistent and patient, but they want to avoid being rigid. You want to be firm, but you don’t want to just say no to everything and be stubborn. You don’t want to make yourself look like a jerk, because if you were perceived that way you probably won’t have much influence.

You want people to like you; this helps you persuade the majority. Juror #8 does an excellent job of not getting mad and staying calm even when the majority is yelling at him. He is a very likable, patient, and mature man and this really helps him influence the majority. Convergent thinking occurs when a person gathers facts, evidence, or experiences from a variety of sources to solve a problem. The result is one answer that hopefully is correct. Majorities seem to possess this kind of thinking, as is the case with 12 Angry Men.

The majority members in the jury focused only on the testimony given by the witnesses. They did not consider any possible other alternatives. When it came to the witnesses, their testimonies were undoubtedly right and there was no reason to consider anything else about it. Divergent thinking occurs when we start with a problem and rather than look for one answer, we instead generate many ideas or possible solutions. The minority influence grew in support as the movie went on because members of the jury started to use divergent thinking when considering the trial.

Instead of being focused on only one solution, they were considering other possibilities that could have explained what happened the night of the murder. When the jury considers the woman across the street that says she saw the boy kill his father, convergent thinkers assume everything is accurate in her testimony, because there is no other solution in their minds. What juror number 8 does is help the jury see another side to the story. Could the woman see the murder through a moving train at night when she was in bed?

Convergent thinkers would say absolutely, while divergent thinkers would consider other possible scenarios. Juror #8 just wanted everyone to think about any other possibilities. In this case, the divergent thinkers noticed that she wore eyeglasses by the indentations on the sides of her nose. They then think about the fact that most people don’t go to sleep with their glasses on. So they wonder how the woman could have accurately seen the murder and murderer. Maybe she did see the murder perfectly, but now there is some reasonable doubt.

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The Film 12 Angry Men Review. (2017, Jul 30). Retrieved from

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