The Lucifer Effect

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In 1971, a psychologist and professor at Stanford University named Philip Zimbardo, together with his colleagues conducted an experiment entitled the Stanford prison experiment, which was an extension to the research called “the Lucifer effect” he was conducting. Zimbardo research involved trying to answer the question of what happens when you put good people in an evil place. And does humanity win over evil or does evil prevails? Zimbardo therefore conducted the Stanford prison experiment to observe the effects prison can have on human behavior. He wanted to find out “whether the brutality reported among guards in American prisons was due to the sadistic personalities of the guards (i.e. dispositional) or had more to do with the prison environment…show more content…
CNN (2016) stated that on that date, "CBS News" broadcasted the first ugly photographs of abuses by American soldiers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. Abu Ghraib prison was a U.S. Army detention center for captured Iraqis from 2003 to 2006, where detainees placed in cell blocks 1A and 1B were considered to be high valued. The pictures were taken by U.S. Army military police soldiers assigned to the prison and was made public to the world. These pictures reveiled the dehumanizing conditions and human rights violations in which US military soilders imposed upon detaintees all of whom were vaugely and rightly charged of a crime. Detainees suffered violations of physical and sexual abuse, rape, torture, sodomy and even murderat the hands of US soilders, not only as a means of trying to obtain intelligence about the enermy but also as the dispositions of…show more content…
The Standford Prison Experiment and the Abu Ghraib Prision are both similular in a situational context in which both presented the scenario of having the authority figures being the guards and the subordinate being the prisioners/detainees. In both prision is was seen that it was the “situation” that lead the guards within each prision to use they authority and dispositions to control criminals. Proving to Zimbardo that powerful situational forces could over-ride individual dispositions and choices and can result in good people doing bad things. “The terrible things my guards [at Stanford] did to their prisoners were comparable to the horrors inflicted on the Iraqi detainees. My guards repeatedly stripped their prisoners naked, hooded them, chained them, denied them food or bedding privileges, put them into solitary confinement, and made them clean toilet bowls with their bare hands.” (“Abuse and Authority - The Abu Ghraib Comparison,” 2015). In both of these situations, the guards working at the facilities were not trained in managing prisons or prisoners.The difference noted was that although the guards of the prison experiment had no reason to fear the prisoners, the guards at Abu Ghraib constantly feared of attacks due to them being outnumbered by prisoners and being in the middle of a war
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