The movie “12 Angry Men” is an excellent story about the interactions of 12 male jurors deliberating the fate of an accused murderer. The film opens right after the trial ends and the jury is about to begin deliberating, so the facts of the case and relevant testimony is only revealed through the discussions of the jurors. While this movie has merit on many different levels, for the purposes of this paper it will be used to illustrate examples of various influence techniques.
When the jurors first begin deliberations, they take a preliminary vote to see where they stand and 11 vote guilty and only one votes not guilty. This vote was just a “show of hands” vote, which creates an awkward situation for the lone juror voting “not guilty”. This lone juror (#8) is immediately met with pressure from some of the other jurors, especially Juror’s #3 and #10. These two jurors use threats and try to intimidate Juror #8 by making condescending remarks and general comments like ‘he’s obviously guilty’ and ‘only an idiot’ would think otherwise. They use these pressure techniques to try to get him to change his vote so they can conclude their jury service and ‘put away a murderer’.
Juror #8 responds by using a variety of influence techniques to at least get the other jurors to discuss the case some before reaching a verdict. First, he uses inspiration and consultation, by appealing to higher ideals and values and involving others. The ideals he appeals to are that everyone deserves to be ‘assumed innocent’ and must be ‘proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’. By asking other jurors questions and involving other jurors in discussion before reaching a decision, he uses the technique of consultation to influence them.
After spurring some discussion and still meeting strong resistance from the majority of jurors, Juror #8 uses the influence technique of exchange when he asks for a private vote and agrees that if the vote is still 11 to 1 for guilty, he would go along with the majority. He basically is offering to trade his vote in the hope that at least one juror will be willing to vote not guilty and allow further discussion and deliberation.
Initially, most of the jurors simply accept the credibility and accuracy of all the evidence and testimony presented by the prosecution and dismiss all of the…