On Racial Diversity and Group Decision Making: Identifying Multiple Effects of Racial Composition on Jury Deliberations

Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 05/2006; 90(4):597-612. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.4.597
Source: PubMed


This research examines the multiple effects of racial diversity on group decision making. Participants deliberated on the trial of a Black defendant as members of racially homogeneous or heterogeneous mock juries. Half of the groups were exposed to pretrial jury selection questions about racism and half were not. Deliberation analyses supported the prediction that diverse groups would exchange a wider range of information than all-White groups. This finding was not wholly attributable to the performance of Black participants, as Whites cited more case facts, made fewer errors, and were more amenable to discussion of racism when in diverse versus all-White groups. Even before discussion, Whites in diverse groups were more lenient toward the Black defendant, demonstrating that the effects of diversity do not occur solely through information exchange. The influence of jury selection questions extended previous findings that blatant racial issues at trial increase leniency toward a Black defendant.

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    • "Finally, scholars should expand work on potential interventions to reduce the influence of race and ethnicity on judgments of defendants and to promote the full participation of jurors from all backgrounds. Research discussed in this review provides insights into possible interventions ; for example, increasing jury diversity (Sommers 2006) and the salience of racial bias (Sommers & Ellsworth 2001) should lead to more fair trial outcomes. In addition, social psychological research offers strategies for reducing bias that may be applied to legal contexts, such as exposing jurors to positive, counterstereotypical examples of racial and ethnic minorities (Kang et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews a growing body of social science research indicating that race, ethnicity, and culture can influence the judgments and behaviors of juries. The first section addresses research on jury bias, which shows that jurors often make harsher judgments of defendants from other racial and ethnic groups and are more likely to give death sentences in cases involving Black or Latino defendants and White victims. However, these effects are moderated by several factors related to the trial parties, context, and crime. Further, juror bias often involves subtle or implicit psychological processes that can be difficult to recognize and correct. The second section discusses research conceptualizing jurors as agentic forces whose judgments and behaviors may reflect their racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. This work shows that jurors’ backgrounds may influence their reactions to defendants, trial judgments, and deliberation behaviors. The final section offers recommendations for future research in these areas.
    Annual Review of Law and Social Science 11/2015; 11(1). DOI:10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-120814-121723 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    • "Perceivers try to predict the course of the interaction and whether the goals of the interaction will be achieved or not. In social contexts, this decision-making process is influenced by certain salient features of the people we interact with, such as facial expressions (e.g., Scharlemann et al., 2001; Ruz and Tudela, 2011), physical attractiveness (e.g., Solnick and Schweitzer, 1999; Solnick, 2001), or ethnicity (e.g., Sommers, 2006, 2007), which may influence our beliefs and "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates whether participants use categorical or individual knowledge about others in order to make cooperative decisions in an adaptation of the trust game paradigm. Concretely, participants had to choose whether to cooperate or not with black and white unknown partners as a function of expected partners' reciprocity rates. Reciprocity rates were manipulated by associating three out of four members of an ethnic group (blacks or whites consistent members) with high (or low) reciprocity rates, while the remaining member of the ethnic group is associated with the reciprocity of the other ethnic group (inconsistent member). Results show opposite performance's patterns for white and black partners. Participants seemed to categorize white partners, by making the same cooperation decision with all the partners, that is, they cooperated equally with consistent and inconsistent white partners. However, this effect was not found for black partners, suggesting a tendency to individuate them. Results are discussed in light of the implications of these categorization-individuation processes for intergroup relations and cooperative economic behavior.
    Frontiers in Psychology 10/2015; 6(1568). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01568 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "A clear hierarchy might ordinarily reduce status uncertainty in mixed-sex groups, but many brainstorming groups intentionally lack such a formal structure. The PC norm may boost performance most in brainstorming work groups because such groups are less structured than, for example, decision-making groups that typically have formal rules and procedures governing interactions and information exchange (Sommers, 2006). In addition, unlike with decision-making groups, in which an optimal solution is more likely to exist, the evaluation of creative ideas is subjective and unpredictable (Goncalo, Flynn, and Kim, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: As work organizations become increasingly gender diverse, existing theoretical models have failed to explain why such diversity can have a negative impact on idea generation. Using evidence from two group experiments, this paper tests theory on the effects of imposing a political correctness (PC) norm, one that sets clear expectations for how men and women should interact, on reducing interaction uncertainty and boosting creativity in mixed-sex groups. Our research shows that men and women both experience uncertainty when asked to generate ideas as members of a mixed-sex work group: men because they may fear offending the women in the group and women because they may fear having their ideas devalued or rejected. Most group creativity research begins with the assumption that creativity is unleashed by removing normative con-straints, but our results show that the PC norm promotes rather than sup-presses the free expression of ideas by reducing the uncertainty experienced by both sexes in mixed-sex work groups and signaling that the group is predict-able enough to risk sharing more—and more-novel—ideas. Our results demon-strate that the PC norm, which is often maligned as a threat to free speech, may play an important role in promoting gender parity at work by allowing demographically heterogeneous work groups to more freely exchange creative ideas.
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