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mock jurors] have examined jurors' predeliberation disposition
The effect of deliberation is both to decrease variance among group members, as individual differences diminish, and also to produce convergence on a relatively more extreme point among predeliberation judgments.
In all of these cases, deliberation moves people toward a more extreme point in line with their predeliberation positions.
In Stoner's original data, researchers noticed that the largest risky shifts could be found when group members "had a quite extreme risky initial position," in the sense that the predeliberation votes were weighted toward the risky end, whereas the items "that shifted a little or not at all started out near the middle of the scale.
These remarks suggest some general, commonsense conclusions about how and when group discussion will move predeliberation opinions.
On the other hand, larger shifts are naturally to be expected within groups of like-minded people,(100) and as noted, depolarization is likely if the group is lacking a median predeliberation view in one direction or another, or if it consists of equally opposed subgroups whose members are willing to listen to one another.
In case A, for example, a group of six people, asked for their views on nuclear power on a scale of -5 (" strongly opposed") to +5 ("strongly in favor"), might have a predeliberation median of +2, with one at + 1, one at +3, and four at +2.
Dollar awards did not simply polarize; while higher awards increased dramatically, as compared to the median of predeliberation votes, lower awards increased as well.
There is strong experimental evidence for this process of "group polarization" so that "members of a deliberating group predictably move toward a more extreme point in the direction indicated by the members' predeliberation tendencies" (Sunstein 2001, 15).
Themes facilitate evidence comprehension and enable juries to reach predeliberation verdict decisions.
PSYCHOL 220, 220 (1977) (criticizing mock jury research that reports the averages of individual judgments in lieu of group decisions and describing an experiment where individual predeliberation verdicts did not reliably predict postdeliberation group consensus).
1317, 1322 (1998) (finding that dyadic deliberation outcomes tend to be predictable from the individual predeliberation dichotomous judgments of participants having a certain personality characteristic but not from the individual dichotomous judgments of those not having this characteristic).