Essay on Analysis of Conformity and Group Influence in Twelve Angry Men

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Analysis of Conformity and Group Influence in Twelve Angry Men

Introduction The film “Twelve Angry Men” directed by Sidney Lumet illustrates many social psychological principles. The tense, gripping storyline that takes place in the 1950s features a group of jurors who must decide unanimously whether a young man is guilty or innocent in the murder of his father. At the beginning, eleven of the twelve jurors voted guilty. Gradually, through some heated discussion, the jurors are swayed to a not-guilty verdict. Upon examination, the film highlights social psychology theories in areas of conformity and group influence.

Theories and Application
Conformity, a change in one’s behaviour or belief to correspond with others
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If he had not withstood his decision to discuss the trial further, there would have been no point in the film. In fact, without a dissenter amongst the group, the jurors is more than likely to engage in groupthink, a theory that suggests a type of thinking that overrides what is realistic for the sake of group unity. The influence of the deviant juror has allowed, most importantly, an exposure to differing opinions. Juror number eight, our deviant juror, proves to be an effective minority influence. His consistency in his convictions for a fair assessment of the trial and his unwavering, yet objective confidence makes him a powerful one man influence on the group’s ultimate decision (Sloan, Berman, Zeigler-Hill, & Bullock, 2009).


“Twelve Angry Men” not only highlights the fragility of justice, but also the flaws of human nature. We would think that twelve men, though with different backgrounds but with a seemingly good grasp of the situation and sound minds, would come together and provide a fair and just verdict. However, the film has certainly demonstrated the dangers and limitations of conformity and group influence. In the place of these men, we are probably no different than they are. Very few of us would find ourselves in the position played by the deviant juror and it would have been, of our very doing, an inevitable death sentence on a possibly innocent young man. An awareness of these social psychology theories is valuable and