This is a great example of a social psychological movie analysis. The student
has taken on a movie classic. He gives just enough of the plot at the start of the
paper to orient the reader, then provides additional plot details as needed to
dissect specific pieces of action as they unfold at different points in the film. He
organizes the paper around three main themes, (conformity, attitude change and
persuasion, and group process), and within these he brings to bear a number of
different theories and perspectives. In doing so, he goes well beyond the
minimal requirements for the paper (i.e., the "rule of three"). In each case, the
application of social psychological theory is appropriate and convincing. Except
for a few minor flaws, the paper is well written. This was a fun paper to read.
"12 Angry Men"
The film "12 Angry Men" exemplifies many social psychology theories. This
tense, compelling film, features a group of jurors who must decide the guilt or innocence
of an accused murder. Initially eleven of the twelve jurors vote guilty. Gradually,
through heated discussion, the jurors are swayed to a not-guilty decision. Upon
examination, the film highlights social psychology theories in areas of conformity,
attitude change and group process.
Within the context of the jury room conformity is a dangerous device. "Twelve
Angry Men" exemplifies the power of informational social influence and normative
social influence, theories developed through the research of Muzafer Sherif, Solomon
Asch and others. According to informational social influence individuals conform
because they believe that other's interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more salient,
or valid, than their own. Normative social influence is a theory that posits the cause of
individual conformity due to the possibility of appearing deviant.