Psychology 2105/Friday 2-4:45
September 30, 2004
Step One: Critical Thinkers are Flexible
o Initially, eleven of the twelve jurors were guilty of violating the
first step in the critical thinking method because they immediately
believed that the accused was guilty. They only considered the
testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses, they did not consider the
facts presented to them. If they had carefully considered the facts
presented to them they would have seen that the facts did not support
o Juror #7 (Jack Warden) states that “You couldn’t change my mind if you
talked for a hundred years.” This clearly is a violation of
Step Two: Critical Thinkers Identify Inherent Biases and Assumptions
o It was assumed that the prosecuting attorney did an expert job.
o Most of the jury members initially assumed that the defendant had
killed his father.
o It is assumed that the defendant was a wild, angry kid because he had
a horrible life.
o It was assumed that the testimony of the old man that lived below the
defendant and victim was concrete fact.
o It was also assumed that the testimony of the woman across the street
o Obvious racial bias exhibited by Juror #10 when he makes racial slurs
against the defendant.
“…you know how these people lie! It’s born in
they don’t know what the truth is…”
o Juror #3 shows inherent bias towards the young defendant based upon
the poor relationship he has with his own son.
Step Three: Critical Thinkers Maintain an Air of Skepticism
o Eleven of the Jurors did not initially maintain an air of
skepticism; they did not consider all of the evidence that had
been presented to them. If they would have kept their minds
open before walking into the jury room they may not have been so quick
to initially decide the fate of the defendant.
o Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) was the only man who maintained an air of
skepticism and wanted to re-examine the evidence piece by piece.
Step Four: Critical Thinkers Separate Facts from Opinions
o It is a fact that the defendant’s father was murdered.
o It is a fact that the jury was made up of white males, not a jury of
the defendant’s peers.
o Juror # 4 (E.G. Marshall) offers an opinion when he states that slums
are breeding grounds for criminals and that children from slum
backgrounds are potential menaces to society.
o Juror #10 (Ed Begley) feels that the defendant is not intelligent
because “he don’t even speak good English.”
Step Five: Critical Thinkers Do Not Oversimplify
o Juror three states that this case is “open and shut” against the young
defendant. This seems to attempt to simplify a complex murder case.
Step Six: Critical Thinkers Use the Logical Inference Process
o Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) used this step when re-visiting the testimony
of the witnesses. He questions whether or not the old man would have
been able to hear anything as the L train was passing by.
o Juror #9 (Joseph Sweeney) makes the logical inference that the female
witness across the street wore glasses because she had marks on her
o Juror #4 (E.G. Marshall) deduces that it is logical to assume that “no
one wears eyeglasses to bed” and so it was unlikely that she had time
to put her glasses on to see the murder sixty feet away.
Step Seven: Critical Thinkers Examine Available Evidence before Drawing
o Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) was successful in finally convincing the other
eleven jurors to look at the testimony and evidence that was presented
to them critically, and determine that the information presented to
them was not a simple guilty verdict. In fact, he was able to convince
the other jurors that reasonable doubt was present and the jury could
not cast a guilty verdict if reasonable doubt is present. .