by Sefarina Benavides
Among Us, an internet game that allows us to determine the temporary fate of a complete stranger. Jury duty, a government system that allows us to permanently alter the fate of a complete stranger. How are they different? How do they connect? Why can't we see it?
What is among us?
Among us, as most of the population knows, is an extremely addictive and popular game. It is a multiplayer interactive game where people can log and play mystery games with their friends or people on the server. The game consists of colorful characters trying to survive the round of play on a spaceship, with the constant threat of danger and death that comes from the notorious Imposters. One to three imposters are chosen at random at the beginning of each round, and their objective is to kill everyone on the ship and sabotage the completion of the crewmembers’ tasks until time runs out.
Now, right off the bat, there is some debate whether or not players are protecting the right people. After all, what kind of imposter would have full access to all of the ship’s controls, as well as the ability to disengage certain actions within the game (such as Coms) or lock the doors behind them? It seems as if the crewmates are the true imposters, stowaways who have made their way onto the ship and are in a constant race to hotwire and overpower the ship. But that’s a debate for another time…
The game was first released in June of 2018 and has become widely popular now in 2020. With high profile Youtubers jumping on the trend. From live streaming themselves playing the game, to basing recipes off the characters, and even to makeup challenges. Among Us has definitely made its mark in the cyber world of 2020.
What is Jury duty?
Citizens of the United State are summoned for jury Duty at least once in their lives. It is an obligation that all people must comply to. The people are randomly selected to participate, and are given brief training on how to be a just juror. According to the United States Courts, there are two circumstances in which a jury is present; the first being a criminal trial, where an individual is accused of committing a crime and a unanimous decision from the jury is required to convict the person on trial as guilty. And “the government must prove the crime was committed ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Guilty pleas and plea negotiations reduce the need for juries in criminal cases.” (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary)
Some citizens await the day they are chosen for jury duty, it's one way where they feel as if they are participating in the government's decisions, and feel as if their time is valued and important. Not to mention the days off of work. But for others, this day is an inconvenience and should not be mandatory. They receive less pay for work, sometimes have to suffer emotional baggage from heavy cases, and lose time from other higher-priority tasks, like caring for their families and going to work. While in jury duty, citizens are briefly trained for the procedures that a juror must follow through.
The selection part of the trials include something called a voir dire.
The judge will make an introduction to the case and the lawyers will disclose any immediately important requirements. The lawyer might ask questions, for example if you intend to be honest to them throughout the process, and if you might have any bias towards the trial. (Law Firms. The legal Processes)
The general population tend to like to follow leaders, whether it be subconsciously or intentionally. This phenomena is known as countertransference (Michael Maccoby, 2004). In almost every human environment, whether it be business or leisure, requires an agent who is deemed the leader of an organization of one who knows answers. Sigmund Freud was the first person to provide explanations for how a follower’s unconscious motivations function. A follower-leader relationship between two people is not always positive; this occurrence is called “transference”. An example of this negative alteration of occurrences if found within the jury system, when being told accounts of first-hand interactions of whiteness.
Example of player blaming another without proof
We find this pattern on accusation and systematic accusal within the game Among Us. This game gives us a perfect example of how transference could go horribly wrong. When a person in Among Us believes someone else is Imposter, all they have to do is comment on the color of that character the next time a meeting is called or a body is reported. By simply saying “Orange did it”, or “Orange is suspicious”, the other players in the game tend to fall in line—free of questions. Rarely do people ask for proof, and when they do, they often don't receive it. Yet they still end up voting the accused person out of the active game, giving the true Imposter an advantage.
Having to defend yourself
It can be very discouraging when you know you are not guilty of any crimes, yet you get voted off the game by your peers. I'm sure it has happened to most everyone who has played the game, you get blamed for traveling through vents or killing someone when you've been the perfect little crewmate—completing your tasks and minding your own business. Letting your fate be determined by a bunch of strangers is nerve-wracking. Imagine how people who have their fate are determined by a jury of their peers feel. This of course does not warrant a direct and indisputable comparison, but it surely can be used for food for thought.
Sometimes the only defense for yourself is “I didn't do it” or “It wasnt me”. Unfortunately, those defenses don't usually hold up.
Literal death penalty, but in real life you dont get to complete your tasks as a ghost, you’re done.
As much as humans take pride in their integrity, we are a very influential species. Damasio is a term used to describe how a person's emotions influence their decisions. When someone upsets you or irritates you, you might want to take vengeance (vote them off). Oftentimes jurors are subject to the tactics of framing effects from lawyers and attorneys. This means that when information is presented in a certain way, a more favorable way, people are more likely to side with it. This is a dangerous tactic to be dealing with, especially when a person's life is at hand.
Next time you're determining someone's fate, make sure you know how you're being influenced by leaders around you, and make a rational decision that's not based on emotion or convenience, but on fact.
Lowkey, Orange is kinda sus tho...