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Anexos / Arquivos

Group processes in cinema: 12 Angry Men

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ABREU, Liliane Alcântara de [1], MELO, Natalia Sayuri [2], SOARES, Pamela Cristina [3], CYPRIANO, Nathalia Gonçalves Domingues [4], NUNES, Letícia Monteiro [5], SILVA, Gabriella Braga Dias da [6], HAERTHEL, Susan Mara [7], MENDES, Matheus Passos [8]

ABREU, Liliane Alcântara de. Et al. Group processes in cinema: 12 Angry Men. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year. 07, Ed. 01, Vol. 05, p. 94-130. January 2022. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link:


This article aimed to approach and analyze the film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957), from the theoretical contributions and differentiated techniques for group dynamics. In this context, the guiding question was raised: do individuals with specific sociocultural differences and divergent historicities collaborate in psychological developments in group processes? Thus, the general objective was based on understanding different group dynamics techniques and their applicability. The hypothesis was based on the assumption that individuals with antagonistic histories can contribute with their different experiences to the applicability of group dynamics techniques and subject maturation. As a methodology, the research was supported by the main point of observation and analysis of the film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957) and the relationship with the theoretical review of scholars to reflect and analyze their influences, based on the principles of the historical, epistemological and technical foundations of theories about groups. From this point of view, it was necessary to recognize the psychological and behavioral processes in the group context and to understand the nature of groups through the psychological processes belonging to the film. As a result and conclusions, it was understood that from the intersection of theorizations with the dynamics presented in the film, that, however different these perspectives may be, the analysis of groups starts from the premise that group processes are transformed from the actions of individuals, as well as their economic and cultural positions.

Keywords: Cinema, Dynamics, Groups, Psychology, Society.


The purpose of this work was to analyze Art and the processes of group dynamics. Therefore, the study carried out in the first semester (March to May) of 2021, took into account the studies of Kurt Lewin through Mailhiot (2013), Moreno through Russo (2010), Schutz (1979; 1989) and Pichon -Rivière (2009) from the perspective of the film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957).

In this context, the following guiding question was raised: do individuals with specific sociocultural differences and divergent historicities collaborate in psychological developments in group processes?

Thus, the general objective was based on understanding different group dynamics techniques and their applicability. As a consequence, the specific objectives extended to understand the theories and how each of the authors – Lewin, Schutz, Moreno, Pichon-Rivière – worked with group processes; understand how discriminatory intergroup relationships and historicity can act in a group dynamic, and find in the film a possible intervention of each of the theorists.

From this, it was possible, therefore, to observe the behavioral signs that make up the hypothesis for the analysis of the subjects involved in the plot, and which was based on the assumption that individuals with antagonistic histories can contribute with their different experiences to the applicability of dynamics techniques. of groups and maturation of the subjects. From this point of view, the initial doubts about the film were dissipated by the very clear narrative construction itself.

As a methodology, the research was based on the main point of observation and analysis of the film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957) and the survey of the theoretical review of these scholars to reflect and analyze their influences, based on the principles of the fundamentals historical, epistemological and technical aspects of group theories. From this point of view, the psychological and behavioral processes were recognized in the group context and the understanding of the nature of groups through the psychological processes belonging to the film.

The group of eight students was divided into four sub-teams (with two members in each team), each of which was responsible for carefully observing and analyzing a single theorist, so that each perception was exempt from the interference of other authors, divided into sessions. Thus, the initial question of how the group would identify the methodology of the theorists in question in this study was simplified. This would make it easier to compare them and discuss their practices.

Therefore, when starting the analysis of the film, the team of this article focused not only on the effective theorization initially departed from Barreto (2014), and which permeates the sessions, but also sought a basis in various authors and distributed as follows:

In section 2 of this article, which explains group processes more broadly, theorizing included Aroldo Rodrigues, Eveline Assmar and Bernardo Jablonsky (2009), Silvia Lane (1989), Sueli Martins (2007), Maritza Montero (2010), Paulo Freire (2011), Emanuel Vieira and Verônica Ximenes (2008), and the brief support of Ludimilla Teixeira and Liliane Abreu (2021). In addition, a brief explanatory summary is made about the context of Lumet’s film (1957). In section 3, on Kurt Lewin, support was found in Gérald Mailhiot (2013) – also referenced in section 2. In section 4, referring to Moreno, the team relied on Luis Russo (2010), Liliana Lima (2014), and Maria da Penha Nery and Maria Inês Conceição (2005). In section 5, William Schutz (1979; 1989) was supported by himself and by Linda Smircich and Gareth Morgan (1983). In section 6, Enrique Pichon-Rivière (2009) substantiated himself. Finally, final considerations close this article.


First, the object to be analyzed will be presented. The film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957) portrays the story of the trial in US territory of an 18-year-old Puerto Rican who is accused of brutally murdering his father. In addition, it is known through twelve jurors responsible for giving the final sentence to the defendant, that the boy lost his mother at age 8 and was raised violently by his father. Every day he was beaten, and on one of those occasions, he bought a knife, spent many hours outside the house, and when he returned at dawn, his father had been killed with a weapon identical to the one he had acquired. The defendant did not deny the acquisition and intentionality, but he refutes having murdered his father.

The jurors, isolated in a hot and small room, and in a hurry to get out of there (not only because of the inconvenience, but also because they were anxious to have fun, and also trivializing the entire decision-making process), eleven quickly decided that the young man should be sentenced. (which would lead to death for the type of crime). Only one juror refuted the decision, asking the rest of the men to take a closer look at the facts beyond what was presented to them. Each of the characters was identified as follows:

  • Juror 1. Assistant coach (chairman);
  • Juror 2. Banking;
  • Juror 3. Scrapbook Businessman Having Problems With His Son;
  • Juror 4. Wall Street Broker;
  • Juror 5. Man of humble origin, but who rose socially;
  • Juror 6. Manual worker/painter;
  • Juror 7. Gambling Gambler;
  • Juror 8. Architect (the man disagreeing with the guilty verdict);
  • Juror 9. Elderly;
  • Juror 10. Transport businessman who had a cold;
  • Juror 11. Jeweler of European origin;
  • Juror 12. Young conceited publicist.

In view of this list, it is worth noting that the twelve men were from different origins and social status, but all of them tried to present themselves socially on a par, but, evidently, some stood out more. Thus, the agenda of prejudice and discrimination, and the power game between psychological majority and minority are explicit and present in the analysis of the film. The conduct of juror 8 for the group dynamics to occur, and the change of thought of each juror until the twelve were convinced that perhaps they would condemn an ​​innocent person to death, was another relevant point. Based on these three aspects (prejudice and discrimination, psychological majority and minority, and group dynamics) this work is structured, since this triangulation is what fosters the entire narrative of the film.


In a specific chapter on prejudice, stereotype and discrimination, the authors Rodrigues; Assmar and Jablonsky (2009) explain what these impact factors on social relationships are and how they work.

Attitudes and behaviors are different concepts for Social Psychology. Likewise, attitudes and thoughts are also different. A person’s attitudes are changeable, as they can study and evolve, producing new understandings that change their attitude in the face of various positions. Thus, the greater the interest invested by the person in the attitudinal content, the greater the correspondence between attitude and behavior (RODRIGUES; ASSMAR; JABLONSKY, 2009).

Attitudes help to deal with the social environment and have several functions such as allowing the achievement of reward and avoiding punishment; protect self-esteem and spare yourself from anxieties and conflicts; helps to organize and assimilate complex information; it allows the reflection of one’s own convictions and values; establishes social identity. (RODRIGUES; ASSMAR; JABLONSKY, 2009)

These factors trigger values ​​of a theoretical nature (with an emphasis on rational, critical, empirical aspects and the search for truth), aesthetic values ​​(concerned with beauty, harmony and forms), practicality (with an emphasis on utility and pragmatism, dominance of a economic nature), social activities (with an emphasis on altruism and philanthropy), power (with an emphasis on influence, dominance and the exercise of power in various spheres), and religion (with an emphasis on transcendent, mystical aspects and the search for meaning for the life). (RODRIGUES; ASSMAR; JABLONSKY, 2009)

After understanding that attitude comes before behavior, and that attitudes are not the same as thinking, it is possible to understand the difference between prejudice and discrimination. The causes of prejudice are varied, but the following can be highlighted: (1) competition and economic conflicts; (2) the role of the individual on whom all the blame falls (popularly known as the scapegoat) in the face of reduced purchasing power, generating a feeling of frustration. Economic fluctuations make the majority group blame the minority; (3) personality factors; (4) social causes of prejudice: conformity with a group to which one belongs, social determinants, group learning processes of repetition of prejudice. (RODRIGUES; ASSMAR; JABLONSKY, 2009)

Any hostile or negative attitude towards a particular group or target does not necessarily lead to the demonstration of prejudice. According to Rodrigues; Assmar and Jablonsky (2009), for Social Psychology, prejudice is considered an attitude, while the cognitive basis is the stereotype. The person has a prejudiced attitude, and if the environment allows, he will have a discriminatory behavior. In other words, behavior is discrimination, and prejudice is attitude (and this is at the level of thinking).


Kurt Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) presents a theoretical trajectory studying Jewish minorities in World War II, and then expands his studies to other groups. Because of this, he developed important research in the field of psychology of minority versus majority groups, the dynamics of these groups. Therefore, there is a difference of psychological minority and majority for both demography and psychology. Demographics are talking about the number of people; so, when you say that a group is the majority, you will have more subjects in the group. However, the differences in the psychological field are independent of the number of people, as it is linked to power.

For Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), the psychological majority has autonomy (it does not need another group to exist). Its existence and future do not depend on others, and precisely because this psychological majority has status, power and autonomy. Its strength is based on the science of defining the collective future (or a subject). Furthermore, within the psychological majority group there is a privileged minority. This group reserves for itself exclusive privileges that determine what is appropriate and what is not.

The psychological minority, on the other hand, is under guardianship, regardless of the number of people. These subjects perceive themselves as enjoying fewer rights, and need to fight to achieve them. It is a group that has no autonomy and is tolerated by the psychological majority group. Therefore, every psychological minority tends to be discriminated against. If it has not been discriminated against, it is likely to be (MAILHIOT, 2013). Anti-Semitism, racism and sexism are social problems arising from psychological majority groups, and for this to occur, they dehumanize psychological minority groups through the process of diminution and yoke. Exactly for this reason, when the psychological minority group starts to stand out, it is persecuted.

Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) sees that the problem of the psychological minority is something social, not individual. The sooner a child from a psychological minority knows and understands their origin, the better conditions they will have to identify situations of discrimination (and even danger) without self-blame; without taking on the act of decriminalization (TEIXEIRA; ABREU, 2021). It is important that she is aware that she may be discriminated against simply because she is part of a minority group, and not because of something she does (or doesn’t do). This is because the majority group tends to choose a scapegoat, that is, someone to blame and thus channel their feelings of frustration and irritability, and this target is found in minority groups, not majority groups.

Understanding this process is important, as it leads to Lewin’s third study (MAILHIOT, 2013) on self-hatred, that is, the hatred of the group itself (and of oneself). In this case, self-hatred creates a devaluation of the group itself. These people do not want to be discriminated against, but they live in discriminatory intergroup relationships. It is the movement of the oppressed trying to be accepted by the oppressor, to become the same oppressor and/or believing that they will be safe if they consent to the actions of those with a psychological majority. (TEIXEIRA; ABREU, 2021)

Thus, the hatred of themselves and the group itself is not because they have psychological problems, but because they do not want to be part of the discriminated group. They establish the desire to participate and integrate the privileged group. Therefore, the development of hatred for the group to which they belong, occurs due to the certainty of their future being unstable and without status. Therefore, according to Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), the groups are subdivided by layers. People closer to the center are more positive and called centripetal, valuing traditions and culture of their group. Whoever is at the end of these layers is suffering a centrifugal force, and therefore negative.

Finally, in this understanding of psychological majority and minorities, Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) realized that these collectivities would culminate in one of three possibilities:

  • Assimilation: when psychological minority groups want to dissolve into the psychological majority group. They do not want differentiation to be absorbed by the majority group;
  • Integration: they seek associations to get closer through similarities between majorities and minorities, but the problem is that minority traits are erased;
  • Independence: it would be the only beneficial one, as the individual does not differentiate between groups.

In this way, for Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), the psychological minority group only survives in independence, because, in assimilation, it de-characterizes its culture to the detriment of the culture of the majority. On the other hand, in integration there is a tendency towards cultural appropriation, that is, the psychological majority appropriates the minority’s culture for itself. Therefore, only independence and self-recognition (of the self and the group) would guarantee the survival of minority groups.


When thinking about the issue of group processes, a series of authors configure their own definitions, therefore, for each of them the group function can vary. Of the four scholars that support this article, one can quickly mention Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), who perceived a system of forces in the constitution of groups, and which, finally, would have the function of defining roles. Pichon-Rivière (BARRETO, 2014) understands the formation of a group as a set of individuals connected in time and space, with some kind of bond, interacting through roles. In addition to these authors, one can also mention Calderón and De Govia (who will be referenced later through LANE, 1989), and even Martin-Baró (apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008).

When talking about group processes, and in the face of Psychology studies, it is impossible not to mention the name of Sílvia Lane (1989; MARTINS, 2007). The author focuses on two premises to discuss group processes. In the first premise, it is understood that different groups may have points in common, even with differences in their historical processes, in economic determinations and in personal determinations. All this falls on the existence and action of each group.

The second premise that the author ponders is that the group itself can only be understood as a historical process, because it changes. If the subject’s identity changes, so does the group’s identity. Thus, instead of referring to a group, one can refer to a group process, since this group throughout its historical process is being transformed by the actions of individuals, by economic and cultural pressures (and determinations), and so on. against. The individual has his identity modified and also alters that of others, precipitating a third movement, which is the identity of others reflecting on the subject. (LANE, 1989; MARTINS, 2007; TEIXEIRA; ABREU, 2021)

Crises in group identification bring about the redefinition of the group itself. Calderon and De Govia (apud LANE, 1989, p. 80) define a group as “a significant relationship between two or more people”, whose actions are triggered to achieve goals. The authors discuss the group process in stages, and that this group process can be changed according to crises, whether they have different dimensions. Therefore, there is a significant relationship between two or more people, in triggering actions for the design of objectives. However, what happens in the constitution of groups (thinking of functioning as group dynamics) is that individual objectives are distinct from group objectives and the negotiation of individual objectives sets up a conflict. The fact is that individuals are generally not willing to negotiate with each other, much less for the betterment of the group objective.

Lane (1989) states that individuals have some stages in the group, and classifies groups into four types: agglutinate group (there is the presence of a leader who proposes tacit actions distributing functions of group members who are waiting for solutions); the possessive group (the leader distributes and coordinates functions, demanding the participation of all); the coercive group (features a leader coordinating function, and the members perform the tasks with independence, support and mutual trust, however, they usually close themselves off to others from outside); the independent group (leadership is widely distributed among the members, and all individuals already have autonomy and are responsible for the group, and welcomes new members).

Lane (1989) states that each and every group has a historical function, and this function can be to maintain or transform the social relations developed as a result of production relations. Likewise, the author reinforces that Social Psychology considers that the subject is not born social, but becomes a member of society, and primary socialization is this process of making the individual a member of society.

Through the process of primary socialization, the subject internalizes a reality that is taken by the child as truth (it is not a possibility; it is a real world). Therefore, the author suggests that the socio-historical psychologist, when carrying out an analysis of groups, should not only consider the analysis at a subjective level, but also at an objective level. At the subjective level (that is, of individual experience), everyone is free; everyone believes they make choices for themselves; everyone thinks they understand life in their own way. At the objective level, the actions and choices of this subject imply how he relates to others, which is not always consistent with the subjective aspect. In group relationships, people present discourses at a subjective level that does not necessarily correspond to the objective action they have. (LANE, 1989)

The authors on which the scholar is based consider the group as a significant relationship between two or more people that is processed by actions triggered to achieve common goals. Another thing she highlights is the ideological mediations that fall on the actions of the group’s members.

Lane (1989) says that in order to understand a person within a group, it is necessary to analyze both his self-representation (how he tells about himself within the group), and to recognize the objective reality that compresses and pressures people’s action from the social roles and presuppositions of what is expected of the other to act. This group process leads some individuals to not even be able to dialogue with each other, and for that, the psychologist analyzes the subjects involved considering these two levels, the subjective and that of objective reality. It is also important at the objective level that the dominator versus dominated relationship is reproduced, since it is at the objective level that the processes of opposition, denial and/or contradiction can emerge.

Another important point is the life story of each member of the group. This is of fundamental importance within the analysis of the group process. Lane (1989, p. 85) is emphatic in stating that “The life story of each one is made present by the concrete ways through which the person acts, places himself, positions himself, alienates himself, loses himself or recovers over time. of the process”. The author says that psychologists must assess the level of group action and interaction, as it is at the level of behavior that people place dominant relationships, which express the social humiliation of others, and, therefore, attention must be paid to action. of people.

Finally, Lane (1989) says that social roles must be analyzed, such as the role of leader, since this behavior needs to flow among the members of the group, and cannot remain static in a single individual. Thus, the author realizes that the analysis of the group process should not be limited to the appearance and superficiality of how the members present themselves, in order not to lose the dynamics of this group process.

Lane (1989) and Martin-Baró (apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008) ponder on the group’s conception in historical and dialectical terms, considering the personal aspects. Baró also defines a group as a structure of bonds and human relationships that lead to individual or collective needs. Therefore, the term conscientization used by Martin-Baró and his very specific view of the role of the psychologist in the liberation of the individual from aspects of oppression in Latin America, come from Paulo Freire (2011), and which precipitates the understanding that he it is a social being (TEIXEIRA; ABREU, 2021). He says: “[…] the process of personal and social transformation that the oppressed Latin Americans experience when they become literate in dialectic with their world” (MARTIN-BARÓ, 1997, p. 15-16; apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008, p. 27).

Therefore, for Martin-Baró’s socio-historical proposal, the psychologist would be the fundamental instrument and guide to help this subject to reach self-knowledge, to take the lead in his own choices, and, thus, change not only himself, but his social group: “it does not consist in a simple change of opinion about reality, in a change in individual subjectivity that leaves the objective situation intact: awareness implies a change in people in the process of changing their relationship with the environment and, above all, with the too much”. (MARTIN-BARÓ, 1998, p. 147; apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008; p. 27)

Vieira and Ximenes (2008) reinforce that this whole process pointed out by Baró is dialectical and dialogical, as it implies changes in the residents of the place served (dialectic) and in the psychologist (dialogical), since the latter leaves its traditional area of comfort to face other realities of life. In addition, this whole mechanism for developing awareness is only achieved through dialogue and facing the fact that there are other realities beyond those that an individual can presuppose: “the psychic reflex results from a relationship, a real interaction between a living material subject, highly organized, and the reality that surrounds it” (LEONTIEV, 1978, p. 93; apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008; p. 31). This stance pointed out by Baró, in a way, resembles Lewin’s proposal (MAILHIOT, 2013) in the context of action research.

Martin-Baró (apud MONTERO, 2010; apud VIEIRA and XIMENES, 2008) exposes the construction of psychopolitical awareness proposing its application in communities and developing conscious and fortified groups, effectively being two aspects that go hand in hand in individuals and groups that reach self-knowledge, and about its surroundings. This would precipitate evolved and proactive societies, with subjects who abandon selfish actions and thoughts, and group understanding reaches the notion of belonging and triggers the confrontation of problems. (TEIXEIRA; ABREU, 2021)

Finally, in this exchange through the various possibilities of group dynamics (and that four of them will be analyzed from here on), everyone benefits, as there is a differentiated, bilateral learning, in which everyone develops.


In the chapter “Da pesquisa-ação à dinâmica de grupos” in Mailhiot’s work (2013), he explains that Lewin did not believe in recreating psychological phenomena in laboratories, such as recreating a prison environment in a school experiment. Therefore, the understanding has to be comparative with the phenomenon from a more global perspective and preferably in the field, and not limited to the laboratory.

His understanding of action research (research and intervention) was based on the fact that the researcher cannot be a neutral element in the observation, needing, therefore, to interact, experience, and participate in the reality of which he will investigate. This would be achieved by the active participation of the researcher through participatory research. Therefore, Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) sets two congruent objectives for the psychologist’s research: (1) he must make a diagnosis; (2) he must discover the dynamics of the group.

The psychologist will act as a small witness group. He will witness the dynamics of the group, making it possible to make a diagnosis from within, not from outside. Thus, according to the group dynamics conceived by Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), the professional will act as a radioactive social atom. The radioactive social atom only acts when the group is willing, because the psychologist will participate in that reality by diagnosing the situation and discovering the dynamics of the group.

Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) assumed that the reach of a single professional is not limited to working with all people. He thought of training individuals trained in Psychology, who would replicate and welcome whoever was close to them in their micronucleus. Thus, in addition to getting to know the people and groups with which he interacts better, the action would be broad (from micro to macro).

The psychologist can perceive that the group is in a conformist mood and doesn’t want change. In that case, he will not act as a radioactive social atom, as the group is in a conformist position. So, depending on the dynamics of the group, the radioactive social atom has a range. On the other hand, in the same group there can be both conformist and nonconformist members. Conformists will covertly curb any and all changes. They will try to subtly repress (bringing doubts and obstacles), as they don’t want to lose possible privileges, or the place they occupy. These conformists will try to modify the desire for change of those who want it. Thus, the radioactive social atom starts, but tends to fail, or be weaker, because of these subjects working in opposition. So, according to Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), in the radioactive social atom there are altogether three dynamics: the group of conformists; the group of conformists and non-conformists; the group of nonconformists who want change.

In this third group, there may even be conformist members, but since most are people who want change, the radioactive social atom manages to radiate new attitudes and new behaviors. Given this, Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) brings four hypotheses for group dynamics:

  1. The group is the socio-personal safe field: if the group does not give the person status, he feels in an insecure environment (and becomes anxious and insecure);
  2. The group is the instrument for satisfying personal needs (belonging, friendship, networking for work, material acquisition);
  3. The individual belongs to the group even though he feels rejected;
  4. The fourth hypothesis is that the group is part of the person’s life space.

It is from these four hypotheses that Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013) builds his notion of social adaptation, which is not negative. Therefore, according to this author, social adaptation is positive, as the subject is able to fulfill his desires and goals without breaking with the functionality of the group. Thus, this individual manages to have a balance between individual desire and social relationship.


It is not appropriate here to redo the synopsis in its entirety, since it was done previously. However, it is worth pointing out some issues that were relevant when compared with Lewin’s work (MAILHIOT, 2013). But first, it is necessary to separate the jurors into their most forceful psychological groups, as shown in table 1. It is worth remembering that the twelve men in the plot were in the same status quo due to the role of jurors at that moment. Everyone had the decision-making power in their hands over the fate of a given subject.

Table 1: psychological groups of jurors

Psychological majority group Psychological minority group
Juror 4. Wall Street Broker Juror 1. Assistant coach (chairman)
Juror 10. Transport businessman who had a cold Juror 2. Banking
Juror 12. Young conceited publicist Juror 3. Scrapbook Businessman Having Problems With His Son
Juror 5. Man of humble origin, but who rose socially
Juror 6. Manual worker/painter
Juror 7. Gambling Gambler
Juror 9. Elderly
Juror 11. Jeweler of European origin

Source: The authors (2021)

Juror 8 (represented by the architect dissenting from the guilty verdict) will not be placed on this list, as he was the deciding weight for the other jurors’ change of opinion. Juror 3 is being placed on the psychological minority list for being just a small business owner. He is a worker who has risen to power, but he is not truly powerful monetarily, despite using his strength and power to decide the lives of others in an even careless way. But, this character will be discussed further later.

The debate for changing the votes to exonerate the defendant is tense and often tumultuous, but juror 8 tries to provoke doubt all the time, and that was the point: how to convict without being sure?

The twelve men who did not know each other before, begin to perceive each other and where they would be socially located, even in that environment of apparent equality. It is in this scenario that the factors that divide psychological majority and minority groups begin to emerge, along with positions loaded with prejudice and discrimination. So, after several counter-arguments from juror 8, he asks for a secret ballot and says that if one of the eleven men voted the defendant not guilty, they would continue to discuss the change of votes. If the eleven voted guilty, he would change his vote equally to guilty (since the twelve were supposed to vote unanimously). That done, and with the emergence of a second innocent vote, at 33:15 minutes into the film, juror 5 is accused of having defended that kind of people he came from. In fact, Minerva’s vote was from juror 9.

Juror 5 had a very important role, since he was the only one of poor Latin origin, but according to himself, after his accession, he tried to forget his past. This is analogous to Lewin’s third study (MAILHIOT, 2013) on self-hatred and self-devaluation. Knowing that he could be discriminated against, and the desire to participate and integrate the privileged group, put him in denial of himself. At a given moment, and faced with seeing that one of his, truly equal to him, could be being unduly oppressed, and in parallel, he himself was being attacked in that environment (despite his ascension), his posture changed. Not only did it change, but it aided with knowledge base a truth, overturning a misperception.

At 56:12 minutes, juror 8 recreates the action from the point of view of one of the witnesses (an elderly man with a limp), with the help of the other jurors. With 1 hour and 14 minutes of film, he also recreates the stabbing moment (which according to the report, was done from top to bottom, with the victim about 25 centimeters taller than the defendant). The simulation begins with juror 3 angrily showing that the defendant was guilty, even though he was a minor. Juror 5 intervenes and relives his personal experience, coming out of the shadows of his own historicity, showing that a knife like that (spring) would never be manipulated from top to bottom, but from bottom to top immediately after it was fired, and even more so by someone experienced with knives like the local youth (and that was specifically the case with the defendant).

This whole process of recreation fits with Lewin’s action research theory (MAILHIOT, 2013). Juror 8, despite the anger of many jurors (and notoriously those irreducible from the psychological majority plus Juror 3), took advantage of this discontent by leading them to participate in the actions. He achieved the purpose of being the radioactive social atom of that space, even with the reluctance of some, but, little by little, leading others to reflection.

With 1h and 18 minutes of the film, the prejudice and discrimination of juror 10 manifested itself, generating the unified behavior of disapproval of all the other subjects. When he realized that no member of the group gave him a voice, he retreated in disbelief, and this gave way to one of the most important speeches of the plot by juror 8:

É sempre difícil manter um preconceito pessoal fora de uma questão como esta. Sempre que se defronta com eles, ele esconderá a verdade. Sinceramente eu não sei qual é a verdade, e, também, acho que realmente nenhum de nós saberá. Nove de nós parecem achar que esse garoto é inocente, mas só estamos lidando com probabilidades. Podemos estar errados; podemos estar deixando um homem culpado ficar livre, eu não sei, e acho que ninguém sabe. Mas nós temos uma dúvida racional, e isto é uma coisa muito valiosa no nosso sistema. Nenhum júri pode declarar um homem culpado se não tiver certeza absoluta. Nós, os nove, não podemos entender como vocês três têm tanta certeza. (LUMET, 1957, 1:20:35)

Juror 10’s discriminatory behavior in the face of impact factors on social relationships corroborates the studies by Rodrigues, Assmar and Jablonsky (2009). It was interesting to observe that others in the group who had previously consented to their position at the beginning of the film, at that time, and with the group already changing their prejudiced thinking when faced with the understanding that their truths were distorted, began to behave in opposition to juror 10, even the two who still defended the defendant’s conviction.

Juror 4 was similarly convinced by Juror 9 to change his vote to not guilty, after being confronted with his own experience as a bespectacled and visually impaired wearer. The elderly man (who from the beginning supported juror 8) followed the example of action as a radioactive social atom, leading the reticent broker to reflect on his own.

The group dynamics and the conduction of reflection were deeply affecting each man there, not least because Juror 8 insisted on provoking the few resisters, until only one remained, Juror 3:

Jurado 8: Queremos ouvir seus argumentos. Jurado 3: Eu já listei meus argumentos! Jurado 8: Não estamos convencidos. Queremos ouvir de novo. (LUMET, 1957, 1:29:53)

The enraged juror 3, who was trying to convict the 18-year-old defendant at all costs, confirmed at the time of 1h and 32 minutes of the film that all his fury was just a projection of his relationship with his own son. The contrast of the sepulchral silence and stares of the group with the rage of the man tearing up his son’s photo, ended up showing him that the defendant’s conviction was as if he was condemning his own son. It was revenge on his own frustration as a father.

None of the self-confrontations would be possible without the clash between the subjects in the group, without the clash and provocation conducted by juror 8 for the comparison with themselves, without the recreation of the actions of the context of the trial, but, above all, if there was no active participation of people with real experiences who were present and could make a difference with their own backgrounds.


The embryo of Jacob Levy Moreno’s Therapeutic Psychodrama (BARRETO, 2014) was formed at the Teatro da Espontaneidade in 1922. Through staging, the patient, group, or protagonist can revive their creativity and spontaneity with attention to problem solving. What made Moreno realize the power of staging in group work was the Bárbara-George case, when an actress managed to vent her aggressive impulses by using creativity (BARRETO, 2014). According to Liliana Lima (2014, p. 55-83), man for Moreno is relational and it was through these relationships that he structured his theory.


During the scenes of the movie “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957), two of Moreno’s great theories (BARRETO, 2014) can be observed: psychodrama and sociodrama. Although both are very close, they are different lines. Psychodrama would be the dramatization of the psyche; it is a group therapy in which one works with the patient and participants who discuss issues inherent to their own lives. It is common to use a particular question of the individual and experience it in the group:

Psicodrama é a ciência que explora a verdade por meio de métodos dramáticos, e que lida com relações interpessoais e com mundos privados. Vale-se de cinco instrumentos: o palco, sujeito ou ator, diretor, equipe de ajudantes terapêuticos ou egos auxiliares e o público (sendo que cada instrumento tem uma função específica). (RUSSO, 2010, p. 180)

According to Russo (2010), sociodrama is a group theory that is not limited to a special number of individuals, but may consist of all the people who live in a certain place and at a certain time. Therefore, considering a social issue in a broader way than psychodrama, and taking into account the moment of the time in which the issue is being debated, these two elements of Moreno’s theory (BARRETO, 2014) can be observed during the length of his work. Lumet (1958). This is seen at a first moment, when they are debating the central theme of the judgment of guilt or not. In a second part, because this is related to the defendant’s survival, that is, the life of the other belongs to the group’s judgment (once the guilty verdict is handed down, the condemnation will be the death penalty). In a third moment, the environment in which the session is established and what are the factors of the context that require this judgment. Russo (2010, p. 181) says: “Man is a role player, each individual is characterized by a set of roles that preside over his behavior, and each culture is characterized by a certain set of roles imposed by it on its members.”

As for the aspects of psychodrama, in which individual and subjective problematization will be the main point, it is observed that each one brings a little of their personal issues such as family problems and feelings such as nostalgia. In this way, the judgment session allows affectivities to cross, even if involuntarily and explained by Russo (2010, p. 178): “(…) in general, the same principle applies to any situation in which a person has a personality type that requires certain types of people, through whom his emotions could find an adequate form of expression”.

For Nery and Conceição (2005), the importance of Moreno’s theory (BARRETO, 2014) in group processes is the possibility of understanding through the action and communication of the individuals participating in the group. Through this understanding, conflict resolutions arise that are crystallized thanks to creativity and spontaneity that generates a catharsis. In parallel, Lima (2014) explains that in seeking to base his theory, Moreno created the concept of sociometry, later included in a concept called socionomy, which aimed to measure and investigate interpersonal relationships. From then on, his theory was reformulated and other professionals incorporated it into therapeutic practices and improved them.

In the film, the group began to prepare for action when everyone was present in the room. The room can be read as the setting, which, in Moreno’s theory (BARRETO, 2014), is where the dramatic action takes place and is one of the five instruments of the technique. At that time, they are required to interact to resolve a legal dispute even though some do not initially wish to participate in the process.

For Lima (2014), the warm-up is one of the stages of Psychodrama where the group prepares for the action and the protagonist is outlined. For this, the rapporteur of the case, juror number 1, appears on the scene, who can be explained as the director of the scene who, according to this author, is responsible for ensuring order, being the therapist of the group and the protagonist. In the film, this character begins by indicating each one’s location in the room, asking everyone to collaborate and indicating whether the group’s sentence is essential for the execution or not of the accused’s sentence. While some disagreed with discussing the case extensively, everyone agreed to keep their seats in the room.

It is at this moment that the protagonist of the group appears. According to Lima (2014, p. 69), the importance of this character is to represent the emotions of the group, bring questioning to the action and thus synthesize the dramatic project in common. Juror 8, seen as the emerging protagonist, is the only one who refuses to go along with the mindset of the majority, even with the complaints of some. At this point, the author explains that the protagonist’s specific warm-up occurs, where he begins to prepare himself for the dramatic action itself. Up until this point, everyone was trying to get to know each other, it was only when the protagonist prepared to start acting that the dramatizations of the conflict emerged.

Juror 8 begins his action by listing the reasons why he believes that the defendant is not guilty, but also may not be innocent, thus giving the benefit of the doubt to the young accused. After his speech, in which everyone is worried, juror 1 indicates that the best thing to do is for everyone to put themselves on the case, indicating the reasons why they made that decision. For the Morenian theory in the drama, and based on each one’s speech, the group could then seek a resolution of the divergence problem by convincing juror 8 that the majority decision is the best. Lima (2014) points out that sharing occurs the moment the group participates in the action on the scene, when each one exposes their feelings and ideas through dialogue. It is important for the other members of the group to participate, and thus to have a better view of the questioning as a whole.

One by one he starts his theory, giving guesses about what could have happened at the time of the crime, and to show juror 8 that his idea was wrong. However, juror 8 does not waive his decision. It can be seen that the protagonist is endowed with spontaneity, according to Moreno’s theory (BARRETO, 2014). Nery and Conceição (2005) explain that spontaneity is equivalent to giving new answers to a problem, functioning as a constitutional element of man, and through it that all creative production arises. Soon, juror 8 counters the criticism made by his colleagues with great creativity, even using elements of the scene for his explanations. Furthermore, even when physically confronted, through more heated fights, he seeks to get out of the conflict situation by showing another side of the problem situation. Therefore, although in the beginning he still has doubts about the process, he seeks the answers himself, through creative means.

Lima (2014) explains that spontaneity favors good human development, but environmental and social factors cause this characteristic to be impaired as the subject develops in society. With this, creativity becomes crystallized (as if frozen) by social conservation. Moreno (BARRETO, 2014) calls this phenomenon Cultural Conservation, in which man no longer has the creativity and spontaneity that naturally arises in problematic moments. Juror 3 would be an example of a character taken by the cultural conserve. With severe social values, he sought to raise his son in the same way and was abandoned by him due to his constant punishments. His creative act has crystallized and he just repeats what he heard in his conservative upbringing. One of the examples would be when he indicates: “Children are no longer raised as in the past” (LUMET, 1958). With this speech he means that it is better to continue the same form of rigid education in which he was raised, because in this way the crystallization of social instruction would be perpetuated. Seen as the antagonist, the one who seeks a constant clash with the protagonist, juror 3 does not renounce his crystallized position, even with the emergence of new ideas, demonstrating that he is taken by cultural conservation.

Finally, Lima (2014) states that it would be through psychodramatic practice that spontaneity could emerge again, aiming to recover the sensitive, genial and creative man. And that’s what the protagonist tries to do little by little with the jurors who believed the defendant was guilty. Through practices such as dramatizations, stage instruments and dialogue, he tries to rescue each one’s creativity and sensitivity. The important thing is not for juror 8 to influence others to change their minds, but to make each one rethink his choice and ponder with his own creativity.


It can be identified in the work of Schutz (1979), “O Prazer – expansão da consciência humana”, that in interpersonal relationships there are three basic interpersonal needs that exist in all groups and that need to be satisfied for the evolution of the intergroup relationship to occur. The areas of interpersonal needs were called inclusion, control and affection/openness. They occur in this order in the development of the groups, which will be briefly presented below.

Inclusion behavior refers to the association between individuals, to be a part, to be surrounded by people. According to the author, this need to be included is evidenced “as the desire to deserve consideration and to attract attention and interest” (SCHUTZ, 1979, p. 101). Inclusion is characterized by the search for interaction with other individuals, desire for attention, recognition, prestige and interaction with one’s own individuality. In the course of the group formation process, the scholar says that the main concern of the individual is to transgress or not the limits of the group, and to belong or not to it.

Controlling behavior is related to the decision process between people, areas of power, influence and power. This need for power can range from the desire for power and control over others, to the need to be controlled and to be exempt from responsibility. This behavior is also manifested in people who try to control – the manifestation of independence and revolt is an example of a lack of propensity to be controlled, submission and compliance with orders indicate the varying degrees of acceptance of control. (SCHUTZ, 1979; 1989)

Affection behavior concerns the intimate emotional feelings between two individuals, and, according to Schutz (1979), it is a dual relationship, which only happens between peers, unlike the inclusive relationships that occur between peers, or one person and another. group of people. In groups, according to Schutz (1979, p. 103), “affective behavior is characterized by demonstrations of friendship and differentiation between members”, and includes the struggle for leadership and competition. This behavior is related to how much the individual is willing to be open with the other, and can vary over time, between people and in relationships. Thus, it is built on the basis of deeper bonds, so it is usually the last phase to emerge in a relationship between people or in a group. (SCHUTZ, 1979; 1989).


The film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957) presents the factors involved in the group process in a moment that will be decisive, showing how individuals take to the group and to decision making, their life experiences and their patterns of historical conditioning. Evidencing the individual dissimilarities of the subjects, leading to the analysis of the same fact from different perspectives.

As already reported in other parts of this article, after the trial is paused, the twelve men who belong to the jury are taken to a private room in the courtroom to discuss the case and decide on the sentence of the young accused. At that moment, the phase called by Schutz (1989) of inclusion begins. It is possible to identify the beginning of the process in the formation of the group responsible for the sentence. The judges introduce themselves to each other, take their seats and start talking in order to organize themselves at the table.

In the dimension of inclusion, Schutz (1989) shows that behavior is defined by the way the individual feels about what he or she means as a person. So he becomes a sub social, ultra social or social person. It is important to emphasize that this inclusion phase does not necessarily imply that there are strong emotional connections or dominance in relation to others, but rather a process in group formation.

  • Sub social – An individual with this trait is introverted and withdrawn. He chooses to keep his distance from others so as not to mix, because if he did, he would lose his privacy. They unconsciously want people to pay attention to them, but their biggest fear is being ignored by people and that they won’t approach them, so they avoid them;
  • Ultra social – An individual with this trait is outgoing, seeks company and attention, but wants to be sought after by them. He is afraid of being alone and of being ignored by people and that they do not approach him, but his manifest behavior is different from the Sub social, he goes after people to establish relationships;
  • Social – Individuals with this characteristic do not have problems with social interaction. Feel good with or without the presence of others. You can participate a lot or a little in the group, without feeling anxious. You can be very committed and involved with the group, or you can simply avoid the group (if you feel it is better that way). They feel they have their own worth (SCHUTZ, 1989).

For a better understanding of the above from the author’s perspective, the characters were divided (Table 2) according to these observed behaviors.

Table 2: Social characteristics of individuals in the jury group.

Sub social Ultra Social Social
Juror 2. Banking.
Juror 5. Man of humble origins.
Juror 6. Manual worker/Painter.
Juror 9. Elderly
Juror 11. Jeweler of European origin.
Juror 12. Young conceited publicist.
Juror 3. Scrapbook entrepreneur.
Juror 7. Gambling Gambler.
Juror 10. Transport entrepreneur who had a cold.
Juror 1. Assistant coach (chairman).
Juror 4. Wall Street Broker Broker.
Juror 8. Architect (man disagreeing with guilty verdict).

Source: The authors (2021)

For there to be formation of a group it is necessary that there is a similarity in common to all (SCHUTZ, 1989); in this case, the duty to decide on the defendant’s sentence makes the twelve jurors form a group. Thus, with 3 minutes of film it is possible to identify the beginning of the process in the formation of the group responsible for the sentence. The jurors help the officer set the table and arrange the chairs so that everyone can be seated. Six seconds later, Juror 7 offers gum to Juror 10, and then Juror 7 starts talking to Juror 2 about the hot weather of the day, seeking interaction with the other members in order to fit in with the group. . At 5 minutes and 57 seconds, the judges take their seats in order to structure themselves in the group. After settling around the table, the group differentiates roles and distributes power. It is hereby established that juror 1 will be the chairman of the board.

In the dimension of control, for Schutz (1989), underlying the behavior of control is the perception of competence. The individual feels competent, has the ability to face the world, satisfy their desires, keep their work and acquire material goods. Becoming an abdicar, autocrat, or democrat. It is important to point out that the control problem is to be on top or underneath. The primary interaction of control is confrontation, while control anxiety/fear is being incompetent. (SCHUTZ, 1989)

  • Abdicate – When the individual abdicates power, accepting a subordinate position, in which there is no need to assume responsibility for making any decisions. He does not exercise leadership, does not control others (even if it is to his advantage). He never makes a decision, he prefers to forward it to the other to make it because he feels incapable;
  • Autocrat – Refers to the extremely dominant, power-hungry, and competitive individual. These are afraid that others will not be influenced by him and worse, that they will end up influencing him. He doesn’t feel capable of making a decision and for this reason he tries to prove that he is capable and with that, he ends up taking on too great a burden of responsibility;
  • Democrat – This individual is comfortable giving orders, depending on what is most appropriate for the situation. He feels competent and confident and believes that people are also confident in his ability to make decisions (SCHUTZ, 1989).

For a better understanding of the above, the characters were divided according to the observed behaviors (Table 3).

Table 3: Control characteristics of the individuals in the panel of judges.

Abdicate Autocrat Democrat
Juror 2. Banking.
Juror 5. Man of humble origins.
Juror 6. Manual worker/Painter.
Juror 9. Elderly
Juror 11. Jeweler of European origin.
Juror 12. Young conceited publicist.
Juror 3. Scrapbook entrepreneur.
Juror 7. Gambling Gambler.
Juror 10. Transport entrepreneur who had a cold.
Juror 1. Assistant coach (chairman).
Juror 8. Architect (man disagreeing with guilty verdict).

At 8 minutes and 55 seconds into the film, it is possible to observe the attempt at control that juror 3 tries to exert over juror 8 (after juror 8 is the only one who disagrees with the defendant’s sentence voted by all the jurors), stating that he saw that the defendant is guilty and dangerous, and there would be no doubt about that. Control behavior refers to the decision-making process between people in the area of ​​power, influence and authority. It can also be observed in relation to people who try to control (SCHUTZ, 1989). That is, in this scene there is a dispute for control/authority of the jurors.

Throughout the film, it is possible to observe the attempt to control being exercised by jurors 3, 7 and 10, who actively try to convince juror 8 to change their voting position and consequently sentence the defendant. Around 14 minutes and 10 seconds into the film, juror 8 begins to exercise the power of control, as he begins to influence the other jurors with his perception, who gradually become in doubt, and, finally, change their vote in favor of the defendant’s innocence. During the control stage, group behavior includes fighting for leadership and competition. (SCHUTZ, 1989)

Juror 8 exercises the power of leadership over the other members of the group, so that people start to observe his point of view as well as his posture and from then on, they are influenced. The leader has the ability to influence the meanings and consequently the values ​​of others. This type of behavior helps to overcome conflicts, an essential condition for the smooth running of a team, since the interpretation of situations can also lead members to an understanding of a common reality. (SMIRCICH and MORGAN, 1982).

According to Schutz (1989), affection is when a person is willing to be open with the other, varying over time between individuals and relationships. Therefore, there are three types of individuals: the subpersonal, the superpersonal, and the personal. It is important to emphasize that there is a need for an affective bond in relationships and it is usually the last phase to manifest itself in the development of a human relationship or a group.

  • Subpersonal – The subpersonal individual, avoids close ties with other people, maintains relationships on a distant and superficial level and feels satisfied when others act in the same way with him, maintaining an emotional distance and not becoming emotionally involved. He fears that he will not be loved and liked by others and finds it difficult to like other people and is suspicious of others’ feelings about him. The technique of the subpersonal person is to be superficially friendly with everyone, avoiding becoming close to anyone;
  • Superpersonal – The superpersonal individual becomes extremely close to others and expects others to approach them as well. Then he becomes a dear person in order to alleviate the anxiety of being rejected and not wanted. With this, he tries to win the approval of the other, to be extremely personal, pleasant, intimate and trustworthy;
  • Personal – The personal individual, for being well resolved in his childhood affection relationships, the interaction with other people does not constitute problems. He is comfortable in an intimate relationship and in a relationship that requires emotional detachment. He is able to give and receive genuine affection (SCHUTZ, 1989).

For a better understanding of the above, the characters were divided according to the observed behaviors (Table 4).

Table 4: Characteristics of affection of individuals in the group of jurors.

Subpersonal Superpersonal Personal
Juror 3. Scrapbook entrepreneur.
Juror 4. Wall Street Broker Broker.
Juror 5. Man of humble origins.
Juror 10. Transport entrepreneur who had a cold.
Juror 11. Jeweler of European origin.
Juror 7. Gambling Gambler.
Juror 12. Young conceited publicist.
Juror 1. Assistant coach (chairman).
Juror 6. Manual worker/Painter.
Juror 8. Architect (man disagreeing with guilty verdict).
Juror 9. Elderly

Source: The authors (2021)

Some group members are comfortable in any situation, whether warm or distant. Juror 8 faced several criticisms from the other jurors throughout the process, for not being in favor of the prosecution; however, he seemed to be fine in situations that accepted his arguments, even when they were rejected. As mentioned by Schutz (1989), for the individual as a person, it is important to be loved; but if not, he accepts that relationship, not meaning that he is someone incapable of being loved.

Juror 11 is a serious and quiet man, offering his opinion only when it is relevant or questioning the other jurors. In the third vote, at 57 minutes and 38 seconds into the film, when he is asked by juror 3 about the change of vote, he states that he does not owe explanations and that he only has a reasonable doubt. It is observed during the film that juror 11 showed himself to be a subpersonal individual, keeping his distance from the other jurors and maintaining superficial relationships, which is analogous to Schutz’s (1989) explanations.

At 4 minutes and 40 seconds, juror 8 differs from the others in being isolated and looking out the window, showing himself to be reflective. Then, juror 12 approaches and asks him what he thought of the trial, commenting that he found it interesting. At 6 minutes and 33 seconds, juror 11 asks juror 12 “what was your impression of the prosecutor”, and juror 12 responds that “he was very precise, the way he explained all the points, in logical sequence – the guys are very smart” (LUMET, 1957). Then, all the jurors are called by the rapporteur and sit at the table, it is then when juror 12 comments on the impeccable performance of the judge. After the first vote, in which juror 8 believes that the young man is innocent, juror 12 says that “maybe it is the group’s duty to convince you that we are right and he is wrong – if each of us takes a minute or so two to explain our opinion, maybe…”, but at the same time he withdraws his position, after some disapproving looks and comments “it was just an idea” (LUMET, 1957, 00:12:40). The jury has 12 characteristics of a superpersonal individual, in which he tries to stay close to everyone throughout the film. Using as a direct technique the fact of being liked, and, thus, trying to win the approval of others and be pleasant. (SCHUTZ, 1989)


Born in 1907 in Geneva, Enrique J. Pichon-Rivière (2009) was a Swiss psychiatrist who made a great contribution to the understanding of groups. He had as pillars of his studies social psychology and psychoanalysis, but gradually abandoned orthodox psychoanalysis to dedicate himself to a new epistemological approach that took him to Social Psychology. From that, he inaugurated a form of intervention to the groups, being thus considered by many authors, the creator of the theory and technique of the operative groups.


For Pichon-Rivière (2009), social psychology is a science of social interactions with the aim of social change in a planned way:

Se não for assim, não tem sentido, e todos os seus esforços levariam a um sentimento de impotência, como resultante das contradições quanto a seu aspecto operacional. É um artesanato, no sentido mais amplo da palavra, que tanto forma os elementos da mudança como prepara o campo no qual se vai atuar. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 169-170)

In this sense, the approach can follow in two directions: (1) academic social psychology, which is mainly concerned with techniques and their problems or with the possibilities of change. (2) Praxis, where, according to the author, the central objective emerges, aimed at the instrumental and operational in a more real way, not being, therefore, closed in a circle, but in a continuous feedback of theory, through the confrontation with the practice and vice versa. In this sense, a spiral march is established, which gradually enables the mind to build a strategy that structures the expected change. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009)

According to the author, from this view of praxis, it is possible to create a single instrument, here called ECRO – Conceptual, Referential and Operative Schema, which is oriented towards learning from a task.

Esse conjunto estrutural e genético permite-nos a compreensão horizontal (a totalidade comunitária) e vertical (o indivíduo nela inserido) de uma sociedade em permanente situação de mudança e dos problemas de adaptação do indivíduo a seu meio. Como instrumento, é o que permite planejar um manejo das relações com a natureza e seus conteúdos, nas quais o sujeito se modifica a si mesmo e modifica o mundo, num constante interjogo dialético. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 171)

Therefore, ECRO is instrumental and operational, as it is applicable to any research sector and task, being very important in the operative group. An operative group is nothing more than a group explicitly focused on a task. In this sense, it is the entire set of people, who are linked by constants of space and time, explicitly and implicitly in the execution of a task (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). Relating to the film, Twelve Men and a Sentence (LUMET, 1957), it is possible to perceive in this sense, the presence of an operative group from the author’s perspective.

Analyzing the composition of this group from the point of view of the scholar’s practice, the structure and function of a group are given by the interplay of attribution and assumption of roles. He quotes (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 173): “These represent models of behavior corresponding to the position of individuals in this network of interactions, and are linked to their own expectations and those of other members of the group”.

Early in the film, the decision of the protagonist, Juror 8, caused great discomfort in the group. Some laughed, while others just stared at him. Others began to question and complain aloud. The entire group at that moment turned to try to change the opinion of juror 8, who was against the others. At this point, it is possible to draw a parallel to what Pichon-Rivière (2009) highlighted about the task, when he mentions the stereotype models that make it difficult for the group to learn and communicate, making them an obstacle to the situation of change.

Assim, a tarefa consiste na elaboração de duas ansiedades básicas: medo da perda (ansiedade depressiva) das estruturas existentes e medo do ataque (ansiedade paranóide) na nova situação, provindo essa última de novas estruturas nas quais o sujeito se sente inseguro por carência de instrumentação. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 173)

These two anxieties, according to the author, coexist and cooperate, configuring the situation of resistance to change. And this resistance is what the operative group must overcome, in a process of clarification that goes from the explicit to the implicit. It is possible to illustrate this dynamic with an inverted cone (Figure 1):

Figure 1 – Graphic representation of the corrective operation in Inverted Cone.

Graphic representation of the corrective operation in Inverted Cone
Source: (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 278)

In the film, it is possible to perceive these two anxieties. The jurors who voted the defendant guilty viewed juror 8 as a lunatic. The questions aimed at the protagonist were a mixture of anger, fear and insecurity. Pichon-Rivière (2009) states that in the operative group there are roles that the members assume are important for carrying out the task, and which will be described below:

The spokesperson: the spokesperson in the group is the member who says something that becomes the sign of a group process that, until a certain moment, remained latent, as if it were hidden within the totality of the group. In this sense, it must be decoded and remove the implicit aspect (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). In this role, it can be said that juror 8, when raising the question about the possibility of the accused youth being innocent, forces the group to face the explicit task in a critical way, leaving aside the stereotypes of each one.

The coordinator: the coordinator fulfills the role of intervening and helping the group members to reflect, going through the epistemological obstacle, configured by basic anxieties. It operates in the field of task and communications network difficulties, always directing the group towards the common task (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). In this way, juror 1 (the president) illustrates this role well throughout the film, as he becomes responsible for organizing the votes, always directing the jurors to be attentive in the task, listening to everyone and intervening at specific moments.

The observer: the observer is usually not a participant and his or her role is to collect all the material, expressed verbally and pre-verbally in the group. It aims to provide feedback to the coordinator in the readjustment of driving techniques (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). The representative who stands outside the room can be considered a similar role of the observer, since he does not participate in the group, but helps by bringing the evidence that the coordinator (jury 1) requests during the task.

The scapegoat: The scapegoat is a group member who ends up getting all the negative aspects of the group or task. Thus, the mechanisms of segregation appear (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). At certain times, juror 3 became the group’s scapegoat, being the last to change his vote, and even because he was extremely focused on his individual ECRO. But, throughout the film, other jurors assumed this role for a period, such as, for example, juror 10, who when talking about these people, referring to the residents of the periphery, was left alone and ignored by the others who walked away as a form of protest.

The leader: the leader, unlike the scapegoat, is the member who receives all the positive aspects of the group and the task (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). It can be said that the protagonist (Juror 8), also throughout the film, assumed the role of leader, to the point of being able to make all eleven jurors change their vote by winning the attention and credibility of each one, leading them to to question the certainties of the case.

It is important to emphasize that the role of the scapegoat and the leader are linked precisely because the former appears as a way of preserving leadership and through a process of dissociation necessary for the group in the task of discrimination. Therefore, from the observation of certain group phenomena, Pichon-Rivière (2009), builds a basic assessment scale, due to the classification of models of group behavior (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Graphic representation of the Inverted Cone Scheme.

Graphic representation of the Inverted Cone Scheme
Source: (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 268)

Affiliation or identification (Afiliação): the subject keeps a certain distance, without being completely included in the group this first moment later turns into belonging (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). This is observed when all the jurors at the beginning of the film end up representing the affiliation vector, not wanting to argue about the case and trying to quickly finish the task. An example is juror 5, who, when it was his turn to explain why he believed the defendant was guilty, asked to skip his turn, not wanting to be included in the discussion.

Belonging (Pertença): it is the feeling of belonging to the group, the team, in which it is seen that there is a greater identification with the processes of the group and its task is performed with greater intensity. There is a sense of security that favors the task. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009)

Cooperation (Cooperação): it is the element that expresses the way in which the members of the group acquire, through cooperation, the same direction to carry out the task. Here the group members are cooperators and cooperate in the same direction. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009)

Relevance (Pertinência): it is the centralization of the group in the task and in its clarification (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). This appears in the third act of the film, in which all the jurors were participating in some way, carefully analyzing the case, doing simulations and gathering details to justify or not the vote given. Thus, it can be considered that they were in a moment of belonging, and, soon after, in cooperation to carry out the task.

Communication (Comunicação): it can be verbal or non-verbal, it is the communication that takes place between the participants of the group.

Neste vetor, levamos em conta não só o conteúdo da mensagem, mas também o como e o quem dessa mensagem; chamamos a isso metacomunicação. Quando os dois elementos entram em contradição, configura-se um mal-entendido dentro do grupo. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p.175)

Learning (Aprendizagem): it is obtained by the sum of the information of the members, transforming, at a given moment, the quantity into quality, and thus produces a qualitative change in the group (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). Throughout the film, communication and learning became crucial for the accomplishment of the task and the dynamics of the group, thus being able to build a group ECRO.

Telê: vector defined by Professor Moreno (apud PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009), as a positive or negative disposition to work with a member of the group.

O fator telê, assim enunciado por J. L. Moreno, psico-sociólogo norte-americano e romeno, residente nos EUA. Segundo Moreno, a telê consiste na capacidade ou disposição que cada um de nós tem para trabalhar com outras pessoas, telê positiva e telê negativa, que darão os fatores afetivos e o clima afetivo. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 270)

In the film, there are some examples, such as juror 5 with juror 10 who had a negative disposition to work together, having some arguments that ended up getting in the way of the task. Juror 8 and Juror 9 seemed positively willing to work together, with Juror 9 being the first to change his vote to not guilty, in order to be able, together with Juror 8, to better investigate the case before sentencing the defendant to death.

In addition to all the factors presented by the author, it is important to highlight and distinguish three instances within group work: the pre-task, the task and the project.

In the pre-task are the group’s defensive techniques, which structure resistance to change. Only after passing this discomfort and breaking these stereotypes, can it be said that the group is on task (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). Early on in the film, all the members of the group were uncomfortable with Juror 8 who was against the guilty verdict and were caught up in the idea of ​​trying to convince him that he was wrong. Trapped by stereotypes, they refused to face the task critically, considering each individual ECRO that prevented them from thinking collectively.

The task moment is when the object of knowledge becomes penetrable. In addition, it is the trajectory that the group needs to go through to achieve the proposed objectives. It is in the explicitness of the implicit that makes the group move towards the task as in the movement of a dialectical spiral (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). This moment is possible to perceive when the jurors enter the task and begin to raise all the hypotheses, not in a mystical way and with certainty of the accused’s guilt, but as possibilities, making simulations and considering other factors that do not justify innocence. , also do not print guilt on the defendant.

Finally, the project occurs when the group manages to belong to the members and a plan is implemented (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009). This point is found at the conclusion of the film, where all the jurors are able to jointly complete the task and give the defendant a not guilty verdict, and can be further contextualized in the author’s words in the next quote:

O grupo se propõe objetivos que ultrapassam o aqui e agora, construindo uma estratégia destinada a alcançar esse objetivo. Mas, dentro desse aqui e agora, podemos interpretar que este projeto, como todo mecanismo de criação, está destinado a superar a situação de morte ou de perda que os membros vivenciam quando, através da realização da tarefa, percebem a possibilidade da separação ou finalização do grupo. (PICHON-RIVIÈRE, 2009, p. 181)

Finally, it is possible to note that the operative group technique created by Pichon-Rivière (2009) can be used in several areas and sectors, promoting learning and a significant change to the group members.


In the article presented, the theories of Lewin (MAILHIOT, 2013), Moreno (RUSSO, 2010), Schutz (1979; 1989) and Pixon-Rivière (2009) were contextualized regarding the processes of group dynamics and articulated in the analysis of the film “12 Angry Men” (LUMET, 1957).

Returning to the guiding question: do individuals with specific sociocultural differences and divergent historicities collaborate in psychological developments in group processes? According to the analysis of the four theorists and their relationship with the dynamics presented in the film, it is possible to understand that these developments are not only plausible, but positive.

The exchange of experiences, even with subjects loaded with prejudice, discrimination and preconceived stereotypes, can effectively result in a great conflict between members at first, after all, these constructions also show internal conflicts that each individual carries in their sociocultural education. . However, it is these intergroup relationships, loaded with the historicity of each member of the group, that when it leads to dialogue, debates and interference of experiences, blooms in maturation through resignification and confrontation with oneself, especially those laden with prejudice and discrimination.

Therefore, the assumption of the hypothesis elaborated by the team of this article was confirmed. Individuals with antagonistic histories can effectively contribute with their different experiences to the applicability of group dynamics techniques and subject maturation.

Decisions based on dialogue can transform the subject and his neighbor. It is worth mentioning that the experiences lived by each individual in the group, when shared, can be better understood and re-signified. With this, it is intuited that sharing has the power to bring new questions and resolutions. When an individual experiences a particular experience of the other, an action can be taken outside the moral and particularized context. By looking, listening and feeling an experience beyond the everyday, it is possible to create more affection and empathy with others. Problems that were previously seen as private, began to be shared with a group. However, it can be seen today that an issue, when discussed in the collective, has the ability to generate resolutions based on empathy, spontaneity and creativity.

It was possible to observe from the study of theorizations presented here, with the dynamics presented in Lumet’s film (1957), that, however different these perceptions may be, the analysis of groups starts from the premise that group processes are transforming from the actions of individuals, as well as from their economic and cultural positions. Therefore, the study and understanding of group processes is extremely important for Psychology students and professionals, so that they have a broad and critical understanding of their professional practice. In parallel, all the theories of the proposed authors could be observed with intensity in the proposed film for analysis, making the context more understandable.

From the reflection of human experiences through Art, one can reach an understanding of how group dynamics theories can be applied in a real way, as well as its various possibilities.


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[1] Specialist in Pedagogical Neuroscience from AVM Educacional/UCAM/RJ; specialist in Art Therapy in Education and Health at AVM Educacional/UCAM/RJ; specialist in Behavior and Consumption Research from Faculdade SENAI CETIQT RJ; specialist in Visual Arts from UNESA/RJ; Bachelor in Design from Faculdade SENAI CETIQT RJ. Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[2] Bachelor in Social Communication from Faculdade Casper Libero/SP. Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[3] Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UNIP/SP.

[4] Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UNIP/SP.

[5] Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UNIP/SP.

[6] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[7] Bachelor in Psychology at UNIP/SP.

[8] Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UNIP/SP.

Sent: July, 2021.

Approved: January, 2022.

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