USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Daniel Brown

First Advisor

Dr. Christina Salnaitis

Second Advisor

Dr. Shun-Yung Kevin Wang


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

July 2014

Publication Date


Date Issued

July 2014


Juries are distinct groups in which scholars have been investigating for decades past. Members of these groups- called jurors- are key players in the court process and are susceptible to psychological concepts such as social conformity. With previous studies showing that jurors can be affected by both normative and informational influences, this calls into question the idea of being influenced through reading hypothetical scenarios instead of being present in the actual situation. This study is designed to examine the effect of one’s own decision-making about court cases during jury deliberations through knowing peer decisions. In this experiment, comprised of two test groups, subjects in college classes are given hypothetical court cases and are then asked to rate the guilt of the defendant on a scale of one to ten. One group is given the court cases with no knowledge of peer decisions, and the other group is given the same cases but with the added information that all the hypothetical peers have unanimously chosen the defendant to be guilty. Results indicated no significant difference between the two groups. These findings point towards the minimal effect social pressure has in situations where subjects cognitively know to be hypothetical.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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